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Obesity is a Disease

Posted on 06/25/2013

The American Medical Association last week decided obesity is a disease. I beg to differ, since it seems that label truly is putting the chicken before the egg. Since obesity causes an onslaught of diseases, such as type II diabetes, cardiac (heart) disease, to name a few, I’m not so sure you can say a disease causes a disease. A condition can cause a disease or cluster of conditions in obesity’s case, causes disease including some cancers. Not vice versa, in my opinion. 

With this new label on obesity, we will see some major changes albeit slowly, but we will see changes. I’m not certain all the changes will be positive changes. In fact, I can foresee many not so positive changes from this label. We will certainly see insurance companies and the medical community brought to their limits and medical costs will likely skyrocket as a result. We will most likely also see more and more people undergoing life-altering gastric surgery as a result of this label. We will see more and more diet medications being developed and approved at a quicker pace to keep up with demand (safe or not). And, we will also see our courts flooded by lawsuits due to the label.

What I truly hope for this change from condition to disease, is to help people, not quick fixes rather long term solutions. To educate people on the importance of healthy eating, balanced nutrition and exercise. A greater focus on holistic, whole patient treatments and counseling by registered dietitians and not just recommending a pill to pop or surgery to fix obesity.  And, another hope – or dream – of mine is that our freshly prepared, healthy meals will finally be accepted by insurance companies to help with the treatment of obesity. Everyone has to eat, why not the healthiest plan possible? We teach portion control and the right mix of foods one should eat regardless of size, condition or age.  We just take the work out of it and allow people to focus on behavior modification to make a positive lifestyle change. 

This subject of obesity as a disease is certainly hot right now with many people on each side of disease vs. condition. I frankly don’t think it matters which side you’re on, rather that it's getting people talking and thinking about this very serious health condition that causes many deadly diseases and premature deaths as a result. From all the discussions, it’s my hope that from there people take action, and the obesity epidemic changes course and slows down. Too many people -- a third of our county -- are considered obese. That’s millions of people who will exit from their lives too early, leaving many loved ones behind.

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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