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American Medical Association Defines Obesity as a Disease Affecting 90 Million Americans

Vienna, VA (PRWEB) June 22, 2013

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association voted to define obesity as a disease. The vote and its implications were described in an article entitled "AMA declares obesity a disease" by Melissa Healy and Anna Gorman that was published in the Los Angeles Times on June 18, 2013. According to the article, this vote means that the leading American association of physicians believes that the 90 million Americans - 78 million adults and 12 million children - have a medical conduction for which they should seek treatment. The vote means that doctors are obligated to notify their patients if they feel they are affected by obesity, and insurance plans will become more likely to cover weight loss programs, according to the same Los Angeles Times article.

This vote was only the latest recognition of the impact that obesity causes not just to people affected by it, but also to society as a whole by increasing health care costs. In May 2012, Duke University researchers released their findings after having examined the costs of obesity to the American health care system. They found that "Keeping obesity rates level could yield a savings of nearly $550 billion in medical expenditures over the next two decades" according to Dr. Eric Finkelstein, pHD, the study's lead author. Researchers also conducted a forecast and project that in 2030 up to 42 percent of the overall American population could be affected by obesity. The study and the information above are available in a summary entitled "Keeping Obesity Rates Level Could Save Nearly $550 Billion Over Two Decades" available at that was published on May 7, 2012.

These studies show that the impact of obesity can affect both individuals and society as a whole by increasing medical expenses. However, these votes were not without controversy. According to a June 18, 2013 article from Medpage by David Pittman entitled "AMA House Votes Against Council, Calls Obesity a Disease," the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health had objected to the vote because they were concerned about people deciding not to focus on preventing it. This vote means that increasingly people will come to be counseled by their physicians about the serious impacts that obesity can have on their health.

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