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AMA’s Classification of Obesity as a Disease Will Enhance Patient Care, Treatment and Prevention
Date:6/21/2013

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) June 21, 2013

The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) today commended the American Medical Association (AMA) on its announcement officially recognizing obesity as a disease.

"The AMA's announcement is a tremendous step forward in legitimizing the severity of the obesity epidemic in our nation,” said Dr. Gerald Fried, SAGES President. “AMA's decision will increase coverage and patient access to necessary treatment options for the disease, including weight-loss surgery, which is the most effective treatment for morbid obesity, producing durable weight loss, improvement or remission of comorbid conditions, and longer life."

The United States has experienced a steady rise in obesity prevalence over the last 20 years and has the highest national rate of obesity. At the turn of the millennium, nearly two-thirds of Americans were overweight or obese, and almost 5% were morbidly obese [1]. This trend is ominous, because morbid obesity predisposes patients to comorbid diseases which affect nearly every organ system. These include: type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hypoventilation syndrome, asthma, sleep apnea, stroke, pseudotumor cerebri, arthritis, several types of cancers, urinary incontinence, gallbladder disease, and depression [2-4]. Obesity shortens life expectancy [5], with increasing body mass index (BMI) resulting in proportionally shorter lifespan [6].

According to SAGES Bariatric Group, Co-Chaired by Dr. Marian Kurian and Dr. Kevin Reavis, “From a purely medical standpoint, AMA’s move will provide primary care physicians with the diagnostic license to specifically treat obesity, alongside other co-morbidities, and to also prescribe necessary wellness and prevention programs which will go a long way toward treating the disease, improving quality of life and increasing life expectancy.”


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