AMA: Obesity Is a Disease. It's About Time

This feature requires the newest version of Flash. You can download it here.

Hello and welcome. I'm Dr. George Lundberg, and this is At Large at Medscape.

You must have heard about it. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) approved, with great fanfare, a policy statement that obesity is a disease.[1]Duh. This is not science. This is called "diagnosis by majority" -- aka what the medical politicians think.

Obesity. Disease? Malady? Condition? Ailment? Illness? Whatever.

Where have they been? The prevalence of obesity in the United States and many other developed countries began to increase in the 1980s, reaching deadly epidemic levels. Clarion calls about its facts and threats commanded JAMA theme issues on obesity in 2003 and 2012. Don't the leaders of the AMA read their own publications?

Earlier, the AMA had defined a disease as (1) an impairment of the normal functioning of some aspect of the body, (2) characteristic signs and symptoms, and (3) harm or morbidity. That's fairly reasonable. So, in June 2013, the House of Delegates approved by vote the policy "that our AMA recognize that obesity is a disease with multiple pathophysiologic aspects requiring a range of interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention." There's my AMA again: a day late and a dollar short. But, speaking of dollars...oh, I get it.

The most important advanced technology with which to fight obesity is the bathroom scale, used every day. Don't let that number rise. Proper use of the bathroom scale can help prevent obesity and with that, heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, hypertension, osteoarthritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), various cancers, depression, and even erectile dysfunction. But way back then, maybe Chainsaw Al's Sunbeam corporation didn't sell bathroom scales.

But seriously, better late than never. Let's all welcome the AMA to our fight against deadly obesity.

That's my opinion. I'm Dr. George Lundberg, back at Medscape and At Large.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.