Obesity and Why It’s Considered a Disease
At 1st Choice Weight Loss, we welcomed the declaration of obesity as a disease in the 2013 Annual Meeting of the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA). 1 The organization recognized the “ pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions ” of this chronic condition. It paved the way for more weight loss options.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Food and Drug Administration agree. 2, 3 Nearly 2,500 years ago, the Greek physician, Hippocrates, made a similar conclusion about the association between being overweight and sudden death. 4 It is a major risk factor for a host of diseases, including:
- Metabolic disorders
- High blood pressure
However, the decision by the AMA was not without its critics. While recognizing its seriousness, many consider it more a matter of personal responsibility. However, numerous physiological, genetic, and environmental factors come into play that makes it a more complex condition.
The Case for Declaring Obesity a Disease
A study published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology found that evidence that it is, in fact, an inflammatory disease. 5 Researchers concluded that human abdominal fat tissue contains high amounts of a specific protein that identifies this abnormal immune response. 6
These findings are significant because they show a possible cause-and-effect relationship between obesity and being a disease. Inflammation is associated with several chronic disorders, including:
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Being overweight is also a risk factor for metabolic syndrome. 7 This collection of health conditions includes high triglycerides, low HDL or good cholesterol, and elevated fasting blood sugar. When they occur together, they can increase your chances of stroke and heart disease.
There’s no doubt that obesity has reached epidemic proportions. According to 2016 figures from WHO, nearly 2 billion adults and 41 million children under age 5 are overweight worldwide, 2 and it has the potential to create cascading negative health outcomes that can impact all major body systems.
Perhaps most disturbing is its ramifications on lifespan. A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago did a statistical analysis of data from age-based entitlement programs. 8 The researchers concluded that life expectancy may begin to decline. That means today’s children may not live as long as their parents did.
Health Benefits of Treating Obesity
The declaration by the AMA will likely spark additional investigations into the health effects of obesity. That is good news for anyone struggling to lose weight. Already, the organization has pushed initiatives to provide more training and nutrition education to help the medical community to better support patients trying to manage their weight. 9
Individuals may benefit in other ways, too. It can open up more treatment options, such as bariatric surgery. It also takes this condition seriously. That can have profound psychological impacts by removing the stigma associated with being overweight. It can create a thoughtful dialogue between patients and doctors to control this chronic condition finally.
Don’t wait for the effects of being overweight to affect your quality of life. Call 1st Choice Weight Loss at (281) 888-7767. Let us help you begin your journey to better health.