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Old 06-20-2013, 07:15 AM   #1
kirant
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AMA declares obesity a disease

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/...sease-ama.html

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In order to fight what it described as an "obesity epidemic," the American Medical Association has voted to recognize obesity as a disease and recommended a number of measures to fight it.

The association voted on the measure Tuesday at its annual meeting in Chicago. The AMA noted that obesity rates in the United States have "doubled among adults in the last 20 years and tripled among children in a single generation" and that the World Health Organization, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Internal Revenue Service already recognize the condition as a disease.
Now, there are huge implications made by it. The term "disease" implies that there's some genetic inevitability by it. This is an issue at the personal level as the declaration by AMA is actually very arbitrary. Going the other way, this can give physicians financial incentive to attack and fight harder by dangling a carrot in front of them.

It's an odd step, but ultimately sounds like one of desperation. If memory serves, most developed nations have had bulging (heyoo!) obesity rates that nothing else has stopped before this.
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:25 AM   #2
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Wouldn't doctors make more money if people continue to be fat?

Anyway, from a purely semantical perspective, I don't think the definition is valid
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:35 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Supernova141 View Post
Wouldn't doctors make more money if people continue to be fat?
American doctors get paid more for treating something as a disease and get more funding to do so. In other words, disease is basically another tier, if memory serves, of funding which gives the doctors more money (income) and patients more treatment options. Doctors I don't think get anything past regular consultation fees if it's not a disease, so they don't earn a lot...well, by comparison. Private American doctors still get paid insane amounts

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Anyway, from a purely semantical perspective, I don't think the definition is valid
The definition isn't valid. There is huge debate as to whether or not it actually counts since it doesn't fit the traditional definition terms...and can't be argued one way or another really using the old definitions. However, the AMA played this card to attempt to influence policy and patient/doctor activity. Which is why, at the end of my post, I say this is likely a sign of desperation; the community is divided about whether or not it qualifies, but decided to in order to influence action.

Additionally, labelling it a disease grossly oversimplifies the issue since our current measurement system is the BMI, which is an average. Anybody with passing biology knows that muscle is denser than fat, so many athletes qualify as overweight, some obese...even if they have stupidly low fat %. The fact that people can now fall back on the disease label can probably influence people without proper knowledge or conceptual understanding of the issue.

EDIT - I'll leave the simple definition of disease here so people can judge it:
Quote:
A disease is simply an abnormal condition that affects the body with specific symptoms and signs.
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Old 06-20-2013, 02:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kirant View Post
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/...sease-ama.html



Now, there are huge implications made by it. The term "disease" implies that there's some genetic inevitability by it. This is an issue at the personal level as the declaration by AMA is actually very arbitrary. Going the other way, this can give physicians financial incentive to attack and fight harder by dangling a carrot in front of them.

It's an odd step, but ultimately sounds like one of desperation. If memory serves, most developed nations have had bulging (heyoo!) obesity rates that nothing else has stopped before this.
What are they doing!? Collaborating with Abercrombie & Fitch?!
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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What are they doing!? Collaborating with Abercrombie & Fitch?!
Of all things, I highly doubt that this is an effort to sell more clothing. The AMA has many more things to waste its time on.

I'm interested to see what comes of this. An obscene number of Americans may die from obesity-related complications, but it's not really a disease itself. Still, if it can get patients some better treatment options, the redefinition may not be so bad.
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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I was kidding.
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kagami View Post
I'm interested to see what comes of this. An obscene number of Americans may die from obesity-related complications, but it's not really a disease itself. Still, if it can get patients some better treatment options, the redefinition may not be so bad.
The question is, of course, whether or not this works as shock therapy. If the average American decides "well, if it's a disease, then I'm not going to do anything about it...I can't help it!" it may actually aggravate the issue further.

Also, if this works as expected, expect to see health care taxes balloon.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:17 AM   #8
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Awww. I prepared a response for the thread based on its title and I'm disappointed! here's my original response:
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Who really cares what reddit thinks?
Anyway, by definition, a disease is "an abnormal condition that affects the body of an organism." If we want to talk semantics, then being too tall is also a disease.
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Old 06-22-2013, 12:44 PM   #9
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Anyway, by definition, a disease is "an abnormal condition that affects the body of an organism." If we want to talk semantics, then being too tall is also a disease.
Being tall doesn't endanger your health and is not considered 'abnormal', being obese does.

As for the topic, I am indifferent. I have a feeling obese people will pull the "It's a disease, I can't help it" card.
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Old 06-22-2013, 07:50 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Niko Jims View Post
I have a feeling obese people will pull the "It's a disease, I can't help it" card.
To be perfectly fair too, some of them can't. It certainly isn't something as simple as "Calories in > Calories burned". It's amazing how many things have to be right. And anything being wrong often has some huge pains to staying within the "natural" range.

One of the most shocking to others it seems (though seems pretty natural from a biological point of view) is that the max you can stably change is 2 lb/month up or down. Past that your body will try to return to its current range. There have been some great posts by guys who had even minor fights (190 lb down to 160) about how hard it can be and how futile it can feel. Getting the funding from doctors to back them further can also be a huge boon.
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