One in three American adults is obese, and the rate of obesity in children has nearly tripled over the past 30 years. Experts have warned that kids today may be first generation in history to live shorter lives than their parents. Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex health issue.
Obesity is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which impact millions of people, and the American Medical Association is already working to reduce the incidence of these diseases through our new strategic effort to improve health outcomes for patients. While diet and exercise are certainly important, a variety of things contribute to obesity, including genetic, hormonal and environmental factors.
Recognizing obesity as a disease will spur new interventions and treatments for patients and encourage greater dialogue between patients and their doctors about which behavioral, medicinal or surgical options may be right for them.
Rapidly rising obesity rates have led to a decrease in health and wellness and an increase in costs for treating obesity-related illnesses. We must address this juxtaposition if we aim to improve the health of our nation and enable a better health care system.
About Ardis D. Hoven President of the American Medical Association
Peggy Howell Public Relations Director for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance
Hank Cardello Director of the Hudson Institute's Obesity Solutions Initiative
Joe Nadglowski President and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition