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Obesity gets new label: A disease

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • June 19, 2013 - 11:44 AM

In an effort to focus greater attention on the weight-gain epidemic plaguing the United States, the American Medical Association has now classified obesity as a disease.

The decision could pave the way for more attention by doctors on obesity and its dangerous complications, and may even increase insurance coverage for treatments, experts said.

"Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans," AMA board member Dr. Patrice Harris said. "The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity."

One expert thinks the AMA's decision could lead to greater coverage by insurance companies of treatments for obesity. But one of the objections to labeling obesity as a disease hinges on the way obesity is determined, using the so-called body mass index -- a ratio of weight to height -- that some health experts think is inexact.

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