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FITGLAMGIRL's Photo FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,036
1/9/14 12:51 A

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This is a difficult one. I do think that in SOME cases there are underlying reasons for obesity for some individuals. For the majority, its lifestyle choices. We love to eat and for many that means eating out, fast food, processed food, soda etc. We all know these lead to obesity. We also don't like to exercise. That again with our food choices leads to obesity. It has been proven over and over again that if you change what you eat and add some exercise you will lose weight.

Now labeling it as a disease it seems to me makes obesity more acceptable rather than addressing that we have a serious issue here. It seems to me we just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. When is that going to STOP!

Cheers,

FitGlamGirl

"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. "


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FITNESSFOODIE's Photo FITNESSFOODIE Posts: 3,340
1/8/14 11:24 P

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I agree with HOT4FITNESS and some of the others that I think treating obesity as a disease makes some sense. Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and there are reasons for it just as with heart disease. No one chooses to be obese, or to have the many weight related health problems of obesity, but lifestyle choices - not just eating - play an important role in whether you become obese or not. The cure is complex, not simple, and involves a comprehensive approach, not a pill or surgery. As some posters have added, the simple approaches don't actually resolve the obesity, it can come back.

A couple of other thoughts - Obese people are already discriminated against at work, for promotions, raises, in hiring, and in many ways. They can be viewed as lazy, sloppy and generally less competent than their thinner counterparts. They may need other modifications for working seated, standing or driving because of physical challenges.

And if you think this might generate a lot of new disability claims - open your eyes! They are already out there! I work in the same office building as Health and Human Services. I see many people disabled by the effects of obesity, including those who are no longer as mobile as they could be, have developed diabetes, heart disease, are on tons of medications, C-pap machines, etc. And with all of their medical visits, inability to drive, and physical handicaps, they could not hold down a job if an employer could see past their weight to hire them. I would rather see some effort put into reversing obesity before permanent damage is done, similar to the health battle plans that the early signs of heart disease or pre-diabetes trigger in medical professionals, and even patients themselves.

I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes in December 2013, and since then I have been waging war against my bad habits, getting to the gym twice as much, and sticking to the healthy diet recommendations from the Dr. I lost 10 lbs in December and 5 so far in January. The thought of having diabetes, a disease caused by my weight and other poor lifestyle choices, is frightening to me in a way that being diagnosed as "obese" didn't trigger. I hope that this decision by the AMA leads to more disease prevention education in workplaces and schools as well.

In my workplace, we do have certain employees that have physical requirements that have to be met, and that group has annual physicals with blood work and random drug testing. I do expect that we will see regular physicals for all employees covered by employer health plans, and more work-based wellness programs. There were many quit smoking benefit programs when insurance rates were raised for smokers. My employer has just this month instituted a cash benefit program for submitting a physical exam report from your private Dr, and participating every quarter in an online wellness program with nutrition, fitness and stress management components. The more you participate that more cash you get.



Edited by: FITNESSFOODIE at: 1/8/2014 (23:25)
Karen - Seacoast New Hampshire

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1/8/14 6:20 P

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Great discussion. I agree with everyone, really great points. I mostly agree with ON@VICTORY: I believe that obesity is a symptom of our culture that is now completely out of control and therefore causes other health issues that effect all of us in one way or another. Almost everything that is found in a grocery store is processed and loaded with chemicals except the fruits and vegetables. Wasn't there a time a few hundred years back when we ate real food? Was obesity a 'disease' then?

GONNALOSE5's Photo GONNALOSE5 Posts: 975
1/8/14 3:23 P

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To be honest, it's hard for me to believe obesity is a disease. In the years that I worked, I have seen people who say they want to lose weight but continue to do damaging things to their bodies like buying and drinking a large (32 oz.) soda because it is the best value, i.e, more for the money. Ordering a small green salad, then asking for extra salad dressing so that it leaks from the plate.

Edited by: GONNALOSE5 at: 1/8/2014 (15:25)
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." by George Eliot.


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1/8/14 3:07 P

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I feel the AMA classifying obesity as a disease will lead to treating obesity as a medical condition rather than a character defect. Is it preventable? In most cases, yes. Does being overweight or even obese mean I am less of a person and am deserving of less medical care? It shouldn't but unfortunately these days it does in some cases.

If treating it as a disease means insurance has to cover some of the treatments for obesity, such as nutritional counseling, psychological counseling, exercise classes or strength training, is that such a bad thing. Insurance covers physical therapy when we injure ourselves, wouldn't it be nice if we could get insurance to cover sessions with a personal trainer or exercise classes to get us moving. How many times have some of us said if only we could afford personal training sessions?

My weight problems are caused my several issues, improper eating, not enough movement are two of them. But I also come from a family with substance abuse issues. The only difference between me and my alcoholic mother is that she used alcohol, I use food. I've known others who used illegal drugs. Does just because my substance of choice is available everywhere and is legal make it any less of an addiction? We treat alcohol abuse and drug abuse, why not food abuse?



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SIMPLYME80's Photo SIMPLYME80 Posts: 406
1/8/14 12:54 P

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The AMA can consider Obesity alone as a disease so Pharmacutical companies will be permitted to develop new prescription drugs and surgeries in order to Profit from the Overweight permitting insurance to pay for such prescriptions and surgeries. Many new weight loss "clinics" with high priced so called professionals and unregulated diet medications/herbals, popping up everywhere, a scammers dream!

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1/8/14 12:47 P

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This is an interesting string. I know that many dieseases result from obestity, but feel that my obestity is a result of my life choices. That is in part why I am even on this site. I am not looking for a miracle drug, but a lifestyle change.

SHERRYDM's Photo SHERRYDM Posts: 60
1/8/14 12:42 P

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I need to look at the ruling and see where the parameters are, but obesity ITSELF is not a physical disease;however, it can be a side effect of some diseases or the medication taken for same. From a mental health standpoint, food addiction is as real as any other addiction, and the consumption of food can trigger the same feel-good chemicals as any drug; and, like any addiction, the user is always on the quest for more of their fix. For those of us who don't fit either of those profiles, while I would not necessarily attach a label of fat, lazy, and non-caring on us, I will say that we face challenges that a thin person does not. And if health is the goal, remember that just because someone is skinny does not automatically mean healthy, and also remember that that skinny person my be dealing with food issues as well. All this aside, semantics aside, hopefully this ruling will force doctors and patients to be more proactive using preventative measures and more agressive in treating their already overweight and obese patients.

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1/8/14 12:17 P

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No, obesity is not a disese. To call obesity a disease is a cop out for fat people. I am a fat person, I should know, I'm not a skinny minni sitting here criticizing fat people. If I eat too much, I get fat. There is an emotional piece involved with over eating, but disease is biological, not emotional. Getting to the core of the emotional piece is key to becoming a healthy weight with healthy habits.

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1/8/14 11:57 A

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Am in total agreement here. Same for smoking, drugs, alcohol, etc.. No one has ever forced me to eat that second piece of pumpkin pie...or take a hit off a cigarette...or sit still...or pour down a few shots of tequila. All too often folks are simply unwilling to accept responsibility for their destructive choices and actions. It's far easier to just blame it on a "disease". Nevertheless, I am empathetic toward those who do have thyroid or other conditions that lend themselves toward obesity - just as I pity those who have any addiction that is killing them and/or their families.

Inch by inch life's a cinch; yard by yard life is hard.


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1/8/14 11:54 A

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I say YES! I have eaten 900 cals per day for a weeks, and exercised 90 minutes each day and GAINED! I eat tons of raw vegetables and fruit (by the way, no sugar, no salt, no oil) and drink gallons of water and GAINED I've eaten what the doctor recommends and gained! I gain if I eat nothing, and after using the bathroom (excuse me, but profusely). My body constantly fights to stay high on the recommended weight chart! I only lose when I go far below recommended calories, and then only .25 pound per week! I've been labeled calorie and carb sensitive. So, YES, it feels like a disease to me!

The only "diet" that works is consistency!

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1/8/14 11:21 A

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As a person who is gaining weight with, currently, no known cause maybe it will wake my doctor up. If my weight gain stays the same, in 4 months I will go from overweight to obese. That means in less then a year I went from a normal BMI to one that is obese. I haven't changed anything, in fact, I'm trying to exercise more, when I'm not too tired.



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1/8/14 11:11 A

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"Many insurance companies already offer weight counseling, but I personally haven't seen one that actually pays for you to go to counseling rather than giving a small discount at places like Weight Watchers or various gyms, which isn't too much of an incentive for the majority of overweight citizens."

At my work, if you take their insurance, if you want the best insurance plan, meaning that you want the lower co-pays & better insurance you must have a yearly physical. If you are in the obese category, not sure it might be just overweight, you must either sign-up for Weight Watchers or wear a pedometer. Failure to do so will give you the standard insurance. For some, that's a huge incentive. I don't know how much they pay toward WW, but I know they pay some.



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1/8/14 5:26 A

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I mostly agree with you MINININJA. I generally feel happy about obesity being classified as a disease in the US. I don't, however, think it necessary IS one. Still, if this new classification leads to more people getting better care, I can be pragmatic with the semantics.

The way I see it severe obesity is a usually a symptom, not a disease in itself, but this does not take anything away from the serious health implications linked to being very obese. This should be enough for health care providers to treat the matter with urgency when it's prudent to do so. Like your example states, this obviously has not always been the case.

In a perfect world I'm thinking that it should not have to be necessary for obesity to be reclassified as a disease for its sufferers to get decent care. Doctors treat symptoms all the time, and I would think regarding obesity as a symptom could remind doctors (and other health care providers) to look for the root of the matter, and possibly provide better targeted treatments for each individual patient. Still, by regarding it as a disease, no doctors can completely ignore the matter. And this, perhaps, should take precedence.

I'm just hoping this new classification will benefit more obese patients than it will label healthy individuals as sick ones. (Obviously not all classified as obese by calculating their BMI are unhealthy or have excess fat . I don't know the details of where the lines will be drawn, or what measurements will be used. Hopefully waist circumference, waist to hip ratio and fat percentage will be valued over BMI.)

Edited by: CERTHIA at: 1/8/2014 (05:41)

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12/10/13 9:57 P

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I personally am happy about the decision made by the AMA to classify obesity as a disease. Before those opposed rip into my view, please hear me out.

Many doctors themselves have not looked at obesity as a disease, and their treatment of and recommendations to their patients reflect this. However, they aren't doing their patients any favors by avoiding the topic of obesity simply because they aren't required by law to discuss it.

I have a friend that, to me, is approaching what we might call morbidly obese. By this, I mean that she is around my height (maybe 5'2") and likely weighs 300 or more lbs. At my heaviest (209 lbs) I was considered dangerously obese for my height. This is why I mentioned morbidly obese in relation to her height. Unfortunately, she either doesn't recognize this for herself or else she recognizes it inwardly but will not admit to it outwardly. As a result, she is seeking some treatments for another issue (not being able to conceive) that could seriously affect her health because of her weight.

She has been to 3 doctors, and the first 2 recommended that she lose weight in order to ease the issues she's experiencing and possibly conceive. She didn't like either of those answers (which makes me feel that she simply does not want to outwardly admit that she has an issue with weight), so she went to a 3rd doctor. That last doctor, unfortunately, told her exactly what she wanted to hear (that she's just a bit husky, which isn't a big deal). They then proceeded to recommend all sorts of hormone-based fertility treatments for both her and her husband (who is much taller, but also seriously obese). Most women know that adding hormones into the picture can cause weight gain. It can also cause changes in the levels of other hormones. That is the case for typically healthy women. Now imagine bringing hormones into the picture for a woman who is extremely obese, does not want to admit it and does not have a clear picture of her overall health or how her weight may be affecting the situation. Yet that doctor built up visions of getting pregnant from something as "easy" to do as a fertility treatment instead of addressing the main problem.

Perhaps doctors agreeing within their industry to treat obesity as a disease means that doctors would not be able to recommend treatments like this willy-nilly for patients whose first priority should be getting down to a healthy weight to manage current conditions and lower risk factors for others. Perhaps such a ruling will cut back on doctors making irresponsible recommendations for the sake of making money. After all, a doctor wouldn't be able to recommend something as serious as a hormone-based fertility treatment without taking current, recognized diseases and conditions into account. Risk factors they don't have to discuss, but diseases they do. Perhaps with a ruling like this my friend and her husband would both be forced to face the issue of their growing weight. I mean, bringing a baby into the world in their condition (if they are even able to do so successfully) would not be a wise or responsible decision for several reasons. I am personally concerned that if they continue down their current path, they may experience the joy of having a baby through these fertility treatments but end up not being around long enough to raise that child. :(

I know that many of you think people may use it as an excuse not to change their habits. However, sometimes drastic measures like labeling something as a disease can encourage doctors to push their patients toward different and better habits. And regardless of this ruling, people make up all kinds of excuses not to recognize their issues with weight or to avoid changing their habits. That's going to happen regardless. At least with the ruling, more doctors will be encouraged to make it a priority in the care and recommendations they give to their patients.

Also, I have been reading about a common feeling among doctors where they tend to treat their thinner patients better than their overweight or obese patients. Many doctors have admitted to having better bedside manner, appearing more personally concerned and being more encouraging or sympathetic to their thinner patients, while they are simply methodical, to the point and matter-of-fact to the point of being cold to their obese patients. Because of this, many of them have delivered information about being overweight or obese in a way that causes the patient to feel offended (i.e. they're rude about it), and many have even reported not bringing up the topic of an obese patient's weight at all during a visit. That certainly doesn't seem fair. Sure, perhaps some people could have avoided becoming obese. However, there are so many conditions, factors, medications etc. that can contribute to obesity that it doesn't seem fair to treat everyone as if they could have avoided it, that it's their own fault and that it's up to them on their own to do something about it.

With this new ruling, perhaps obese patients will start to get care, understanding and recommendations that are comparable to what thinner patients have been receiving. Perhaps doctors won't avoid bringing up such a critical topic, and perhaps they'll consider delivering information in a way that is informative without being rude or non-nonchalant.

We should also remember that not all obesity is caused by eating too much and exercising too little. Conditions such as Cushing's Syndrome / Cushing's Disease (which is most noticeably marked by accelerated, unexplained weight gain) can be a contributing factor, as can genetics (not every person on Earth is genetically predisposed to be thin, whether you want to believe it or not). There are also a host of medications for diabetes, ADHD, cystic fibrosis and other conditions that can cause weight gain. Hormone-based drugs such as birth control are one of the most common causes of weight gain in women. Were it the case that weight gain was ONLY caused by overeating and lack of exercise, I might feel differently. However, there are just too many factors outside of our control that can contribute to obesity. Most of those are considered serious medical issues or diseases, so why shouldn't obesity be?

Another thing to consider...when a person remains overweight or obese, does not seek to correct the issue (whatever the cause may be) and ends up experiencing a serious medical emergency from complications caused by their excess weight, guess who foots the bill for their emergency room visit when they can't pay or don't have insurance? Yep, all the rest of us. When we give people a reason to continue ignoring issues like obesity, they usually only seek help when there is a medical emergency and often times it is too expensive for them to pay for. In many cases (as is the case in the US right now), most of the people with these serious issues lack adequate insurance coverage. The hospital does not simply absorb those costs, they charge it to the government which in turn pulls what it needs to cover the cost from our tax dollars. If doctors begin treating obesity with the seriousness it deserves, a person's issue with weight can be addressed and a plan can be created to treat their obesity before it gets to the point of costing the rest of us money.

What would be a truly legitimate reason for not classifying obesity as a disease? Those who are willing to answer that question, what would be your response regarding the numerous individuals whose obesity is the result or symptom of another serious condition, a medication they're taking for another condition, a preventative medication such as birth control, or their family genetics?

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8/20/13 2:06 P

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Love4kitties, when you put it that way, I would think of it as a disease too. I guess because the cure for obesity seems to be so much in our control, I don't think of it as a disease per se like the examples you mentioned, cancer, stds, etc. which don't (normally) go away without medications, surgery. But regardless of the cause or cure, looking at your post, obesity does seem to be a disease.



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LOVE4KITTIES's Photo LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 1,924
8/20/13 1:42 P

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Look up the definition of a disease. It's a state where there is an abnormality of structure or function. Obesity is the state where one is carrying excess body fat. It is an abnormality of structure and it also causes abnormalities in body functioning (everything from limiting mobility to causing other abnormalities such as fatty liver and other health problems). Obesity is considered to be a major cause (or contributor towards) of death in our society. Yes, it is definitely a disease.

The causes of the disease are varied, but we don't classify a disease as a being or NOT being a disease based upon the cause of the disease. For all of you who say that obesity is a choice and so is not a disease, maybe you also don't classify things like sexually transmitted diseases, alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver, etc. as diseases because they also can come about because of choices that people make (lifestyle choices)? Maybe you don't even classify the flu as a disease if people get it by making a CHOICE not to get a flu shot? People choose to smoke, right? Would you then say that all the diseases that people get from smoking (lung cancer, emphysema, etc.) are actually choices and not diseases?

I kind of feel like the whole 'it's a choice, not a disease" argument stems from discriminatory feelings/judging people. Obese people have to deal with a lot of discrimination and, actually, it's one of the last forms of discrimination that seems to still be acceptable in our society. IMO, it's really sad that this is the case and I think it prevents a lot of people from receiving the help that they need to combat what is, in reality, something that does meet the very definition of a disease.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 8/20/2013 (14:11)

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JENJEN1004's Photo JENJEN1004 Posts: 2,056
8/20/13 5:53 A

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My personal opinion--studies and statistics aside--there are people with medical conditions that cause obesity, however the majority of obese people (myself included) got that way by eating too much and exercising too little.

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8/19/13 9:16 P

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It's a condition that results from certain behaviors...or the lack of them.

If it stems from hypothyroidism or an extremely rare condition such as Prader-Willi syndrome, then I do believe its origins are disease-related.

"If you're going through hell, keep going."

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8/19/13 5:44 P

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In my opinion, obesity is just a symptom that something else is not in balance with an individual. It is not a disease in and of itself.



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8/19/13 4:46 P

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Obesity is not a disease. . it is a choice.



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7/18/13 9:36 A

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Obesity is a symptom in some cases and in many is the cause of diseases. It is not a disease by itself.



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7/18/13 1:36 A

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Wonderful response STARLIGHTSHADOW...and I fully agree.



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7/17/13 10:49 P

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It is IMHO.



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7/17/13 12:40 P

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I don't think obesity is a disease. As many people have commented - it can lead to diseases or I think it can be the result of a disease.

There are many issues that can cause obesity. It can be a mental disease where people use food to cope or another physical disease like a thyroid issue. It can be a mixture. Obesity can also be caused by laziness, lack of caring etc. And I will imagine that many people fall into the "not caring" range. I speak from my experience of being fat previously. I have several food/weight issues now but when I was obese and not in my healthy weight range it was a result of indulging and not caring and being lazy.

If this changes our society's views I will be shocked. But I wish it would. There are no fast fixes or magic cures - no pill or surgery will fix the way we treat our bodies and our view on food. We are in control of ourselves and our own habits and we need to reflect that.

Obesity in and of itself is not a disease but it can be the cause of a disease or can lead to other diseases. For some people it is literally as simple as put down the fork and go for a walk when you're bored - I was one of those people.

It is interesting that so many of us with our own weight issues, past or present, are believers it is not a disease. Who in the world made this ruling? There should be more advertising for healthy lifestyles than for McDonalds...

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6/25/13 2:14 P

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I think it's a disease, and a sympton of other diseases like depression, and chronic pain. But I also think it's a good choice by the ama to treat it as a disease so those people who need help can afford to get help through insurance now.

NWFL59's Photo NWFL59 Posts: 6,137
6/25/13 1:59 P

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I think its a disease even if the AMA hadn't of declared it one

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6/25/13 1:49 P

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THank You Momma2ski, your absolutely right. that's what I mean. and yes there has been a warning right on the package of cancer sticks since the begining of time. My father new it my brother in law new it and both still smoked until cancer took them. CHOICE! I understand some medical problems, but you know some of this was also brought on by parents not teaching their children proper eating habits in the first place and why perhaps because of those circumstances, financial, environmental, emotional, whatever. Here we are. Obesity as a disease? What will Health Insurance companies do with that?



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6/25/13 12:52 P

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Yes, obesity is a disease. The cause of obesity (eating too much food) may or may not be a disease, depending on the reason for it. But obesity is the state where you are carrying excess fat and it is definitely a disease and it definitely has many negative effects on health.

Saying obesity isn't a disease because it's a choice is like saying emphysema isn't a disease because you gave it to yourself due to choosing to smoke. Both are diseases in that both cause negative health effects and both can kill you. Cirrhosis of the liver caused by drinking is a disease. Would you say that alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver is not a disease because someone chose to drink too much and gave it to themselves? I doubt it. We all agree that a cirrhotic liver is a diseased liver, no matter the cause of it. Are sexually transmitted diseases actually diseases even though people could avoid them? What about cervical cancer caused by HPV, a virus that's pretty much sexually transmitted? Lung cancer caused by smoking? It's obviously a disease even though someone could have made a choice not to smoke.

Anyway, I guess you get my point. Obesity is a disease in which a person is carrying excess body fat. The disease may or may not come about through poor choices (depending on the individual), but it's still a disease. Many people could benefit from treatment and, like someone else said, calling it a disease (when that's what it is) will force insurance companies to pay so that patients can get more treatment options (help like visits to a registered dietitian, counseling, etc., etc.) than simply being told they are obese and to go home an lose weight.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 6/25/2013 (12:58)

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6/25/13 12:08 P

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For some people it is a disease; it would be hard to eat enough to get morbidly obese if there wasn't some physical or mental/emotional cause driving the eating behaviors. In much the same way alcohol addiction is a disease. For others it is the side effects of medication or the result of depression, etc

Millie, NW Arkansas in Central time zone


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6/25/13 11:56 A

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I think labeling obesity as a disease is a colossal error in judgment.

For one, it further stigmatizes obese patients, who, upon visits to medical professionals who are supposed to offer care, often are presented with one diagnosis and one treatment: You're obese, lose weight.

For two, recent studies have shown more and more that it's your fitness and family history that matters in most cases of developing diabetes and/or heart disease, not your weight. I for sure will need one knee replaced within the next fifteen years, I've never been obese, but I've been active- should we classify playing sports as a disease, then, because in playing them a person is likely to be injured and require costly medical care, a coincidence which is probably at least as high if not higher than that of obesity/heart disease?

For three, funding? I'm with SHERYLDS on that one, follow the money.

Obesity is also a class issue, an issue of being able-bodied, an issue of having disposable time or income to dedicate to being socially acceptable. For me, those points that lead to vulnerable individuals being ostracized more, given less chances on the job market (pre-existing condition, potential exclusion from the possibly solely available physically demanding jobs by reason of having a disease), being even more stigmatized are ones that I can't accept. I have privilege in all these areas, but I can't close my eyes to the way that those who don't will be affected.

Moreover, it's a personal issue: What you weigh, how you feel at that weight, what you do or don't do about it should always be up to the individual. Mental illnesses are different, those are already covered under various classifications, but to just label a state of being a disease? No.

Through the process of my own weight-loss journey, I'm also coming to accept that there are certain set-points in people's body weight, and that changing them requires a lot more time and effort than calories in-calories out would suggest. I'm currently at one such point and giving myself half a year to regain my ability to lose- but what if this point weren't at a high-medium range BMI? What if someone were obese, and what if it were the final point after which losing weight requires dangerously low nutrient intake or impossibly high levels of exercising? Some people's metabolisms already work slower than others, why should those people in the interests of combating something labeled a disease endanger their lives even though they might be perfectly healthy and fit at their current weight?

I think weight-loss surgeries are plain butchery of healthy organs with so-far undocumented risks and sketchy results. Mostly, the post-surgery complications, even in the best cases, read like a horror of medical issues forced on previously working bodies.

I know this isn't a popular stance to take on a forum such as SparkPeople, but I've always aimed toward being a "people first" person. Most people I've spoken to afk, once I'd gotten past the knee-jerk "but everyone says" reaction, would admit to one reason why they were glad obesity has been labeled a disease: Because they think obese people are "gross".

EDIT: Virgie Tovar just sums it up so much better than someone like me who doesn't live her reality could: http://www.virgietovar.com/2/post/2013/06/stigma-loading-the-effects-of-disease-classification-amas-decision-to-call-fat-a-disease.html

Seriously, Read and think.

Edited by: STARLIGHTSHADOW at: 6/26/2013 (07:22)
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6/25/13 11:22 A

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I use to work in the business side of health care. I believe they now call it a disease for insurances purposes. When you call it a disease, health insurance will have to pay for a lot more procedures not paid for now, therapy counseling, and other things not paid for now including drugs. That's why they say being a alcoholic is a disease so insurance companies will pay for rehab.

Many years ago insurance companies would not pay for a yearly 'well' physical for people. Doctors would put down a diagnosis so the insurance company would pay for the physical including blood work, etc. Most adults had something you can put down such as allergies, etc to get that physical paid. If the patient didn't have any then there is a diagnosis called Rule out blank (doctor would fill in the blank) and insurance companies would pay.

Obesity is rapid in this country so there is big money to be made. I don't think calling it a disease will help or hinder the situation. People who want to use the excuses that it is a disease and not lose weight already have excuses they use. I just don't want my insurance coverage to now go up in premiums because insurance companies will have a lot more to pay for.

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6/25/13 11:14 A

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just what overweight america needs, one more excuse!

Fakin' it, til I make it!!!



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6/25/13 10:57 A

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I believe it is a disease and it is epidemic in this country.



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6/25/13 10:50 A

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Obesity is not a disease . There are for some people reasons they are obese and cannot lose the weight, But for many and I mean many it's a life style, a product of circumstance, financial, background, such as that,



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6/21/13 10:10 P

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Absolutely


JIMMY

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6/21/13 9:00 A

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I'm on the fence about this decision. For Appealstome and many other people, I feel like the weight problems are a symptom of another disease/condition like thyroid disfunction, maybe not a disease itself. I think a lot of obesity is caused by lack of healthy diet, and not initially from a breakdown of the body.

But there are always cases that baffle doctors and despite their best efforts can't improve their health with nutrition and exercise alone. If calling obesity a disease makes it easier for people to get the help they need to lose weight, it could be a good thing. I just hope that doctors start the treatments with sensible diet changes and exercise regimens before prescribing drugs and surgeries.

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APPEALSTOME's Photo APPEALSTOME Posts: 4,850
6/21/13 5:11 A

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Yes. Most post centered around people eating fast, junk, fatty, sugary, etc food, not exercising, etc as cause of obesity. What about people with medical condition like thyroid, diabetes, mental, etc that take drugs for these conditions that lead to lack of appetite or other symptoms that cause lack of weight loss or weight gain even when patient follows proper diet, exercise program, etc.?

I lack thyroid and regulating medication for this condition is difficult. I was diagnosed over 40 years ago as result of being raised on salt free diet. I have taken medication, dieted and exercised daily since diagnosed. My weight was fine until 15 years ago when a GP prescribed anti depressant instead of checking my thyroid levels that were low and I gained 25 lbs. Luckily, changing ins and seeing specialist lead to discontinuing anti depressant, receiving proper treatment and slow weight loss within a few years.

But my problem did not end there. Over the course of the last 10 years, medications used to treat my condition were taken off the market for various reasons. So, I was forced to change medication on regular basis. It takes a year or more to regulate my thyroid levels with each med change. Last month another medication I took was taken off market. I gained inches and weight, diabetes, etc with each med change although my diet and exercise routine had not changed. Then, my kidneys stopped working. Discontinuing diabetes medication reversed this condition.

I was so fed up at this point, I asked to be referred to dietitian. I had to pay $150 to attend one group dietitian session since ins would not cover. The session was a waste of my time and money. And I lacked funds to attend a private session with different dietitian.

I continued gaining weight when diabetes medication was discontinued. I gained 50 lbs by time doctor agreed to prescribe different thyroid medication, but not med combo that worked. Not only did my diet and exercise routine remained same during the med change/ weight gain period, I added trainer and nutritionist to my routine. They reviewed my food and exercise logs monthly and suggested changes if warranted, but I still did not lose weight.

Although the medication I take now is not as good as med combo, it is better than type that caused me to develop diabetes, take more medication, gain weight, etc. However, now my drug ins co is pressuring my doctor to discontinue prescribing this medication and me stop taking since it is not on their formulary.

So is being obese my fault? No. I have done everything within my power to lose weight and keep it off.



Tee

Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.


Whatever you do in life, think higher and feel deeper. C. Artias

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You are the architect of your actions, words and voice. What an opportunity for love, truth and purpose to shine. Sister Andrea Jaegar

Accept each moment as if you had choosen it. That frees you


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MRSKATEDUVALL's Photo MRSKATEDUVALL Posts: 1,594
6/20/13 8:04 P

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I agree with the post that the decision was made to help physician address the epidemic. I'm sorry, but being told its a choice, a mental thing, a lifestyle isn't very motivating to change. having treatment options, that the insurance will cover that actually work is a benefit to this ruling. I've been diagnosed with several co-morbidity, and diabetes is a disease. if i wasn't fat, I would still be diabetic. telling me it's my fault isn't helpful. telling me that it's treatment is under my control and choice is.

i also think that the medical community is trying to catch up to the addiction community. Alcoholism and tobacco addiction have been treated with the medical model for years. I would be interested in the opinion of someone who works in addiction or is a medical provider.



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GRANDMAFRANNY's Photo GRANDMAFRANNY Posts: 5,422
6/20/13 7:35 P

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No, WHY ?? All these commercial's of upsizing your order that may be part of it, but you can say NO to it, , too. We can watch what we eat look at calorie's on the can or any food. I have heart disease and put on probotic. Means no cakes, pies, cookies, etc. NO POP. That was a hard choice to make but this is "my life" we're talking about. YOU HAVE CHOICES TO MAKE IF YOU WANT TO LIVE.



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6/20/13 7:24 P

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Yes it is a disease. It is a curable disease but a disease nonetheless. It is contagious, learned and hereditary. We are crippled by it, judged by it and die by it.

If we can "vaccinate" ourselves against it with better choices, more active lifestyles and self health awareness, we can be a part of the cure and not the disease.

I'm trying to fix my obesity issue but I have to admit, it's a reactive action when I should have been pro-active and kept it from happening before I ever got this way. I have no one to blame but myself. The food I ate had nothing to do with my BMI, it didn't get in my mouth by itself.

We get back our mete as we measure....

Losers win by never quitting!!


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6/20/13 4:19 P

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Yes it is. Americans are addicted to food. It is our number one addiction. We got addicted because of all the processing of our foods. So now we " crave" it. Our brains light up on MRI scans from the pleasure it brings. So if our food is manufactured to create an addiction. We have a medical problem. We are food addicts. Why else are diets 95% unsuccessful? Not because we are all so weak, unable to show "will power". most Americans are stuck on sugar, salt and/fat.

If you don't agree with this philosophy then lets all agree that "just say no to fast foods, cokes and etc" is not working. Nor is simply, working out and eating less a long term, successful plan. The surgeries are not maintaining long term weight loss either, at times.

Anything that will promote research, educations of doctors and understanding this very complex issue is better that what has been tried so far.

If you like it, I love it.


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HOT4FITNESS's Photo HOT4FITNESS Posts: 2,141
6/20/13 4:06 P

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Brian I can totally understand your thinking. Yes providing education and knowledge is of the upmost importance. However, most americans have the knowledge. There is website after website after website. We have been educating for years without great success. Obesity is on the rise and now it is affecting our kids. There are tons of trained professionals like dietitians, wellness coaches, diet centers, personal trainers, however they come with a hefty price tag. Many insurance companies already pay for Bariatric surgery, but yet don't pay for preventative, and maintaining weight. This decision could just be that baby step in the right direction. If insurance companies would pay or pay a portion of these professional services to help keep us accountable for our health and wellness maybe we will begin to see a decrease in this obesity epidemic.

TRYINGHARD54's Photo TRYINGHARD54 Posts: 3,367
6/20/13 4:03 P

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I also think this is a hard one. you can take away cigarettes and alcohol, but you cant take away food. we need it to survey. this one I will have to think about. and I know most insurance companies do cover gastric bypass and lap band surgeries.

I CAN DO THIS
SIMPLYABUNDANT's Photo SIMPLYABUNDANT Posts: 2,752
6/20/13 3:48 P

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This is definitely a dilemma. The OP equated smoking, an action, to obesity. But obesity isn't an action. It's a condition. To use the OP's example again, smoking is an action, but lung cancer is a condition that can be attributable to that action. Do we not treat lung cancer? What about diabetes and certain types of cancer that are "lifestyle" diseases? What about riding a motorcycle without a motorcycle and sustaining some kind of traumatic brain injury? Do we not cover that? I don't think that it's logical to use the argument that because the patient might have contributed to his/her disease in some way, it should somehow be exempt from health care coverage.

There are so many problems in our health care system, not the least of which are millions who are still-uninsured. Every time we start talking about health care, we start talking about insurance, as if they are one and the same, but insurance is a fairly new phenomenon. It seems to me that insurance and medicine are locked in this battle where one drives up the price of the other, and we are the losers. To me, there is just something inherently wrong with a for-profit entity (an insurance company) making ANY decision about which of us gets health care coverage, which of us gets which medical procedures, and who is entitled to get which medications. But that's just me ranting.

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6/20/13 2:41 P

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the ruling was made and from what I have read the hope is that more insurers will cover obesity treatment such as surgery medicine etc. This I believe will backfire in the long run. Except in a small amount of cases this is a life style disease. Increasing coverage for surgery and medicine have traditionally had a low success rate long term so will simply raise costs without fixing a problem. By encouraging this they will discourage the real treatment, education and knowledge about what can be done in our own lives to reverse obesity and fall back to big pharma to fix the problem. I hope I am wrong, but I have seen this in so many markets of our economy.

Today's quote:
Do or do not do; there is no try

--Yoda


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6/20/13 2:22 P

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I feel that it is a symptom of a disease, but whatever puts it to the forefront and gets results is great!!



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6/20/13 2:13 P

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Hot4fitness I see what you are saying, I guess I just think about the choices we all make to be healthy or not....or to teach our children the same. I also think of crazy lawsuits like people blaming restaurants for making them obese....I do hope if it is going to be labeled a disease it helps but I still feel that too many people will use it as an excuse, not a reason to get better.

What I do think is great though is that more people /groups are trying to set a good example and teach more people about healthy choices :)

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HOT4FITNESS's Photo HOT4FITNESS Posts: 2,141
6/20/13 1:54 P

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ELIJAHSMOMMY1 I think we need to look outside the box on this decision. The majority of obesity is caused by addictive behaviors and poor lifestyle behaviors. It is really no different than smoking (has a diagnosis as Tobacco abuse) the use of tobacco is a choice, same with alcoholism it is a choice, an addiction. yet a diagnosis as well I think we all need to look at this decision in a more positive way. Obesity as well as childhood obesity is a terrible epidemic and maybe this decision is a step in the right direction to work on resolving this issue. At this point nothing else has improved the situation, so why not give it a chance.

Edited by: HOT4FITNESS at: 6/20/2013 (13:56)
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6/20/13 1:31 P

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I do not personally believe obesity is a disease, there are thyroid problems or other issues that can contribute to weight gain but If someone has chose to be unhealthy ( like myself) It is not a disease it was just not the best lifestyle choice, and like myself those people may not have known how to better but the knowledge is out there, I think labeling it a disease almost makes it sound like there is an excuse for it, and there is not.

M Taylor


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HOT4FITNESS's Photo HOT4FITNESS Posts: 2,141
6/20/13 1:07 P

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ELMA1913 Drinking and smoking are diseases. Alcoholism and tobacco abuse are both a medical diagnosis Yes addictive behaviors have caused our fatness. But this epidemic has gone on to long as its getting out of control. If classifying obesity as a disease it what it takes to kick it in the butt,then so be it. Nothing else at this point as worked, so whether money or industry help persuade this decision, let us give it chance.

Edited by: HOT4FITNESS at: 6/20/2013 (13:44)
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6/20/13 12:48 P

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Hi,

I think it is easier to be obese if you have family that is obese. All of my mom's side of the family are over weight, but my father's side of the family was not. I am built just like my mom, and she is over weight, but I have my dad's dark hair and eyes.

Dee

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ELMA1913's Photo ELMA1913 Posts: 5,051
6/20/13 12:45 P

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Oh boy. That is a tough one - I don't know if I would call it a disease, more of an addiction, like smoking or drinking. Do we call those diseases? It's not something we "catch", more of a lifestyle.

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6/20/13 12:43 P

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I was really surprised to hear that ruling. I don't believe it's a disease (not trying to upset anyone, just my opinion). Most people can lose weight, you just have to work at it. I do think some diseases make it harder to lose weight, or if you take certain medications for disease it makes it more difficult. Also that being obese causes diseases. But to classify it AS a disease, no.

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6/20/13 12:20 P

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I hesitate to call it a disease. It is a condition caused by poor choices and yes, mental health plays a big role. I have definitely experienced using food to cope with life. I have learned to keep that in check, for which I'm very grateful but I still don't consider it a disease.

Edited by: SUZIEQUE77 at: 6/20/2013 (12:21)

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6/20/13 12:15 P

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Yes



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6/20/13 12:13 P

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It's a slippery slope -and as many have said, it's driven by industry and money.

What does classifying Obesity as a disease do? The downfalls people have pointed out like having a pre-existing condition or having to pay more for healthcare is a possibility. But others think that perhaps a doctor will be able to refer you to a nutritionist for this disease - and your insurance will have to cover it. What about gastricbypass? Or required fitness trainers as treatment? Covering more counseling for weight caused depression or depression caused by weight?

The last thing we do need as a society though is an excuse. We are all examples on this site of people who have recognized their lack of commitment to fitness and nutrition and changed that. Don't let this be an excuse - let it be a reason for you and those you know to change for the better.

"If you're going through hell, keep going!" - Winston Churchill


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6/20/13 11:51 A

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I dunno about a "disease". It's all semantics, I guess, but I would characterize it more as a condition with a wide range. Some people, like my hubby, simply overeat because they love food. Others, like me, have a long, emotionally disordered relationship with food (for me, bulimia & binge eating). But, then again, I don't think any addiction is a "disease", but rather a habit reinforcing condition that causes problems in your life. Again, all semantics.

What this power is I cannot say; all I know is that it exists and it becomes available only when a man is in that state of mind in which he knows exactly what he wants and is fully determined not to quit until he finds it.
Alexander Graham Bell

"In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer" Albert Camus


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6/20/13 11:46 A

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Very sad about James. Was it preventable? Maybe, but we can't really know what his lifestyle was by just looking at his images. Jim Fixx died of a heart attack as well.
Is obesity a disease or a character flaw, an immorality?

I'm afraid I'm not personally qualified to confuse cats, but I can recommend an extremely good service.




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6/20/13 11:38 A

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I find this a fascinating topic with many possible consequences. At this point I think that once you are obese, you do have a disease that could lead to an earlier death. However, how a person becomes obese is often by the choices one makes in areas of eating and exercising. One thing that lead to overweight for me was taking medicine for hives. I had no idea why I weighed more each time I went to the doctor and he told me that it was a side effect of the medicine. That was actually the point where I began to struggle with my weight.



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6/20/13 10:51 A

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I had a couple co-morbidities (I thought that was a word?) when I weighed 100 lbs more that I no longer have. I think eating healthy, working out, weighing less is helpful. I just had a sad thought about James Gandolfini. Preventable?



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6/20/13 10:48 A

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I agree with PRAIRIEMIMI. Obesity is a conscious choice that one makes. As many of us here on SP, loosing the weight is also a conscious choice. I do agree that being obese, especially morbidly obese, can cause many serious REAL illnesses.

"It is easier to raise good children than to fix bad men" by Fredrick Douglas.

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6/20/13 10:37 A

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Very interesting posts here. Here is my 2 cents. Obesity is an epidemic, and has been on the rise for years. 66% of americans are overweight. Childhood obesity becoming more and more of a problem. We need to kick it in the butt now! And if classifying it as a disease it what it takes so be it. Nothing else has worked thus far. I agree with some of you that some individuals will use it as an excuse and claim it as a disability. But as my DH expressed this morning many might think " Oh My God, I have a disease" " I don't want to have a disease" and maybe begin to make those lifestyle changes.
As far as the comments about employers and right to privacy. Well, considering that employers pay the majority of most premiums then i think they have the right to do what it takes to keep those premiums down. After all, every time their premiums go up so will yours. Wellness programs and mandatory health assessments are not violating your privacy. Those employees who are overweight, obese, have high cholesterol, or high blood pressure should have to pay more of a premium than those who don't have those issues. Those issues put individuals at a higher risk for costly health problems that put insurance premiums at risk for increase. It is really no different than you automobile insurance looking at your driving record every year. The number of tickets and accidents put you in a higher risk category where you will have a higher premium to pay than those who have a clean record. I guess if one feels that mandatory annual employee health assessments are a violation to them, then go off of your employers health insurance or get private issuance. Of course you will have to answer questions about your health and may be required to have a physical there as well.
The AMA made the decision to classify obesity as a disease, maybe we all need to just have a more positive attitude and maybe, just maybe we can end this growing epidemic. Let's just give it a chance.

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6/20/13 10:12 A

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When I think of disease I think of something that is usually curable. I know not all diseases are curable. However, what is the treatment? Exercise? eating healthier? I am really working on finding a balance between the two and I don't see it as a disease. It is a problem I struggle with. Maybe it is mental, food has been a comfort for me when I am stressed or depressed but it isn't a disease in my mind. I do think however companies should start making food healthier and post calorie count at every restaurant. I like what McDonalds did. It has really helped me choose something that is better for me when I eat there.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe it is a disease that I am battling. I just hope I win it because this road is hard and I don't need or want people looking at me with pity because I am obese or look at me with disgust and wonder if my weight issue is contagious.

God is good all the time!


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MOMMAGPLUS11 Posts: 2,669
6/20/13 9:37 A

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yes

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6/20/13 9:27 A

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I agree with Ethel, it's a mental disease. For many people their interaction with food; and how their brain reacts to the stimulation of eating is much like alchohol and drug addiction. It's a tough subject, vastly different for every individual.
Is obesity a disease? It is for some people. That said I think the AMA's decision is slippery.

I'm afraid I'm not personally qualified to confuse cats, but I can recommend an extremely good service.




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MATTHEW0498's Photo MATTHEW0498 SparkPoints: (31,708)
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6/20/13 8:27 A

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I think it depends on the person. There are some who it may be more of a disease, and others who just choose to overeat for whatever reason.



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EMPRESSAMQ's Photo EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
6/20/13 7:49 A

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I've been reading the thread since I posted and find myself in agreement with a lot of the points made, especially about the possible chilling effect that calling obesity a disease could have on employment and the right to privacy.

I've come to the conclusion even more strongly than I first stated it that it is too soon in our understanding of the cause & effect of obesity to label it a disease. I am more of a mind that it can be a causative factor in disease but is not necessarily a "disease" itself.

Then we get into the issue of body size. Isn't body size a personal, subjective preference? When does it stop being that? When it reaches extremes of morbid obesity or morbidly low body weight?

I don't have an answer for anyone else, but again, for me, body size whether up or down is absolutely influenced by a number of factors, chief of which is what and how much I eat and how and how much I move over a given time period. Like most people, I am intelligent and educated on how to manage those important factors and whether I do so or don't do so for a given time is a choice.

There ARE, as has been said, factors outside of the control of some individuals that CAUSE obesity and THESE can be diseases (as well as meds, nature of the food supply, environment, education, culture, on and on) or not.

So whether the AMA wants to call obesity a disease or not is the AMA's choice, but I wouldn't call it a disease.

Moving in new directions.


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6/20/13 7:36 A

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I don't believe obesity is a disease. It is a choice. This ruling is going to have far reaching consequences, few will be positive.

"We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows, like a shadow that never leaves." ~ Buddha


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JGIRL5799's Photo JGIRL5799 Posts: 538
6/20/13 7:29 A

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I wish there was a like button on these threads!

Well said ya all!

Julie

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6/20/13 7:06 A

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We all have our challenges in life. For some of us it's food addiction. Calling everything a "disease" is a cop-out. Not taking responsibility for our own well-being is what's gotten our country into the mess it's in.

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6/20/13 6:39 A

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There seems to be a difference between US and UK here. In UK I go and see the nurse at the surgery every few weeks and she weighs me and we have a chat. She sent me to the dietician for a few sessions (The dietician was not nearly so helpful as Spark People! I kept telling her that I don't know what 2000 calories a day looks like and she gave me no guidance on portion size etc - just suggested I swap butter for Olive oil spread and had dates instead of chocolate - have you seen the number of calories there are in dates????! Anyway I soon got the info I needed from Spark People)

Anyway, all this is to say that in UK you can get help without obesity being called a disease.

I don't think it should be classed as a disease. If there's an underlying cause, then the cause is the disease whether it's depression, elephantitis, addictions or the disease that means someone has to take drugs that make them put on weight. If the cause is treated it's easier to sort out the symptoms.

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6/20/13 1:29 A

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SHERYLDS, I'm with you on this one. Follow the money.

Eliminate "I will try". Replace with "I will".
You are now ready to succeed.
Let's go.
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6/19/13 11:07 P

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That is a really tough question.

Some people can't help they are overweight and some people can they just don't care to.







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SHERYLDS's Photo SHERYLDS Posts: 12,068
6/19/13 10:38 P

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I agree with some of MEGADANCINPEEJ's concerns.
Obviously ... if you are obese, your employer can tell. But money affects a company's bottom line, and if insurance companies increase premiums on obese employees, then a company may start discriminating against obese job candidates (as some companies discriminate against smokers). And then there is always the 'downsizing' issue, you can either downsize yourself, or be downsized by the company

RPS031764 ... I think most of us are here trying to change our lifestyle.....and some of us have been struggling for years. In the meanwhile, the AMA ruling may affect all of us with the impact it has on our pockets/

Edited by: SHERYLDS at: 6/19/2013 (22:42)
Sheryl from New Jersey, USA... EST


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6/19/13 10:10 P

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Looks like we have another excuse. I guess I should stop exercising now. It's not my fault I'm overweight........

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6/19/13 9:51 P

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I think it's a mental disease, like obsessive compulsive issues, alcoholism, druggism, smoking, gambling, pleasure and comfort seeking compulsions.........there is more to it than overeating. Nothing to do with "not knowing" you are eating too much, so you need to buy books and magazines and listen to money makers on tv, either.

Plan for tomorrow, but enjoy the heck out of today.


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6/19/13 9:20 P

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I think there are good and bad aspects to this, and we won't see the full implications in the short term.

On one hand, this is a huge step for people that want to change their lifestyle and prevent other obesity-related diseases. As already mentioned, this would allow obese patients to potentially visit with a dietician to change their lifestyle BEFORE a diagnosis of another disease, whereas before insurance wouldn't cover it unless treating an actual disease (though one could also argue that healthcare really ought to put some focus on prevention rather than waiting until treatment is required).

On the other, I'm concerned about employment and insurance issues and legal issues - can an insurance company refuse to insure an obese person on the grounds of "preexisting condition"? Can an obese person collect a disability check because they have a disease? Will an obese person demand the same standards as someone of a healthy weight, even when it is unsafe, claiming discrimination if not applied? Also, when someone has a disease, it is quite often treated with medication. Are companies falling over themselves trying to create that pill that could theoretically be prescribed to 30% of the population?

There is no doubt in my mind that obesity is unhealthy and causes other severe issues, just like smoking. But I think there are other issues that need to be fixed (lack of education, poor access to healthy affordable food in places, medical/insurance industry built on treatment and not prevention, availability of high calorie food with little nutritional value) that would have served far more good than putting a label on something (which could in conjunction with those things just mentioned have a strong negative impact as well).

Do something everyday that your future self will thank you for.


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JGIRL5799's Photo JGIRL5799 Posts: 538
6/19/13 7:41 P

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This brings up another point as well, what about jobs and their employees?

Before I quit my job and went to a better one, my work started a " health screening" each year

You must take it, they take your weight, blood testing, BMI, and other health issue inquiry by the health nurse at the hospital. If you did not do that, you were subjected to the worst insurance plan they offered which was the high PPO deductible.. and the spouses were forced to do that as well...

Did that make it right to force workers to get a health exam and blood work and testing done just to only qualify for the lower deductible health insurance? If you failed the test like they found out you did have diabetes or other health diseases, you were subjected on paying $45.00 more on your premiums.. this included things as if you were over weight as well it did not matter on by how much you were overweight.

I think its a privacy issue and getting into my business, but at the perspective of the health insurances and the employer, is it really helping them making sure the employees are healthy?

As for the discounts and things.. I know our gyms offer a 10% discount of the joining fees but there are no other benefits or discounts.


Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 6/19/2013 (19:42)
Julie

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PATTIJOHNSON's Photo PATTIJOHNSON Posts: 2,075
6/19/13 7:29 P

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I also agree with SHERYLDS....was my first thought, too. It's a huge untapped market with a tremendous potential for overcharging patients and keeping those health insurance costs sky high and pharmacies not only profitable, but super profitable.

Many insurance companies already offer weight counseling, but I personally haven't seen one that actually pays for you to go to counseling rather than giving a small discount at places like Weight Watchers or various gyms, which isn't too much of an incentive for the majority of overweight citizens.

And with this, will I be profiled and refused potential jobs because I now have a "disease?" There're a lot of implications by labeling obesity a disease IMO.

Edited by: PATTIJOHNSON at: 6/19/2013 (19:32)
Keep a sense of humor. Remember, laughing burns calories too!

Laugh until it hurts! It's one of the few things in life that's still free!!

Any effort is better than no effort!


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BUNNYKICKS's Photo BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,310
6/19/13 6:15 P

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Why would those two things be mutually exclusive?

Couldn't you just say "it's a disease, that you can prevent and/or reverse by adjusting your eating and exercise habits"? And then provide people with some appropriate tools/education/guidance/support to enable them to do just that?

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Goal 2 - leave obesity behind (BMI 29.9, at 185#) **DONE**
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07SOJO's Photo 07SOJO Posts: 1,648
6/19/13 6:06 P

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I don't think it's a disease. I think sometimes we look for an easy way out. It''s easier to say it's a disease, than to eat right and exercise! I agree with you; it's a choice

You NEVER regret a workout!
Love Sojo


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BUNNYKICKS's Photo BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,310
6/19/13 6:05 P

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I would say it fits the criteria of "disease" - you can qualify it by saying it is a "preventable" disease or a "reversible" disease... but it's pretty hard to deny that "carrying significant excess weight" (no matter how it got onto your body) comes with a host of predictable health consequences.

Goal 1 - break 200 (46 pounds lost)**DONE**
Goal 2 - leave obesity behind (BMI 29.9, at 185#) **DONE**
Goal 3 - BMI = Normal (154# or less)


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STRONGERLEANER's Photo STRONGERLEANER SparkPoints: (118,546)
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6/19/13 5:04 P

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Although I believe obesity could be a symptom of a disease, I don't think of obesity as being a disease in itself. Of course, I'm not a physician.

HOPE: Holding On, Praying Earnestly...from Guidepost Magazine

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On a journey for strength and good health.

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ANARIE's Photo ANARIE Posts: 12,436
6/19/13 4:16 P



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"what I found out by talking to them, they never ever once was taught how to eat properly."

That's true for a lot of people. So what would make people (and schools, and doctors) realize that it's important to teach children to eat properly?

Knowing that it's how you prevent a disease!

Seriously, if you were in charge of getting the money to set up a program for teaching children to eat properly, which do you think would be a better way to convince donors to help-- saying that it will help children avoid becoming fat, or saying that it will help children prevent a chronic disease?

It IS partly about money. The AMA stated that they did it so that doctors would change their approach to treatment and recognize that they were responsible for trying to prevent it, but they recognize that it may *also* mean that insurance companies will have to (or be able to!) cover preventive care and treatment. As it is now, if you're obese but it hasn't caused heart trouble or diabetes yet, your insurance won't pay for you to meet with a dietitian. You can't even just go to your doctor to get weighed and measured and talk about your weight loss plan.

As long as our insurance and health care system stays the way it is, doctors basically aren't allowed to do anything unless it's related to a disease or an injury. They don't get paid for anything that doesn't fit a diagnostic code, and if they spend time with patients that they can't get paid for, they will get fired. So if you're obese but don't have diabetes (yet), they can't sit down with you and look at your print-out of your Spark tracker and ask you if you feel any different on the days you have eggs for breakfast versus the days you have cereal. You have to have done permanent damage before you can access that kind of help. They can't even have a discussion with you about the fact that you've crossed the line from overweight to obese. If they say, "You're obese," up until now it was a judgment. Now, it's a diagnosis, and the next sentence can be, "so let's talk about what that means for your health and what are some of the options for getting better."

Just because you can say that obesity is "your own fault," that doesn't mean it's not a disease. Smoker's lung is even more your own fault, but it's still a disease. Your doctor doesn't say, "Yeah, you've got emphysema. You really need to work on that. There's some good stuff on line about it."

Edited by: ANARIE at: 6/19/2013 (16:16)

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REDSHOES2011's Photo REDSHOES2011 SparkPoints: (35,936)
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6/19/13 2:33 P

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Also agree with sherlyds on all points..

Fitness is a battle, welcome to the frontline.
Suit up and fight for your life. War is war, no matter what front your fighting..
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JGIRL5799's Photo JGIRL5799 Posts: 538
6/19/13 1:58 P

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Another good point Sherylds!!

I think you hit the head right on the nail with that one.. we all know its going to be around money... they would not do it otherwise if money was not going to be there.

What I find is kinda funny when I worked locally at one of my hospitals, there was 5 girls who went through that surgery, 2 said they would never do it again and gained back almost all their weight and some.. One girl got extremely sick and had complications.

I worked the old fashion way of just eating clean and working out and lost 50lbs.. they were all jealous of me cause "of the hard way" They all thought it was the cheap excuse and easy way out, what I found out by talking to them, they never ever once was taught how to eat properly..

Soon enough they started going back to their bad habits... who ever taught them how to control their bad habits in the first place, but yet its ok to go under the knife for who only knows how much it costs ....
Sugery fixes things.. yeah right...

Julie

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SHERYLDS's Photo SHERYLDS Posts: 12,068
6/19/13 1:52 P

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Call me a cynic...but I always suspect greed when there is a ruling like this.
I wonder what part the drug companies play in this
I wonder how it's going to affect medical insurance
and I wonder how many more surgeries this will allow as a 'cure' for obesity patients.

Sheryl from New Jersey, USA... EST


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JGIRL5799's Photo JGIRL5799 Posts: 538
6/19/13 10:51 A

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Calling obesity a disease is totally ridiculous.

It is a choice after all of what we do with the food we eat and how we treat food and our bodies, whether we exercise or not, and all the other factors that goes into what obesity really is. Just because some can not control what they do, I think food can be an addition more than a disease as if smoking is. People are careless about themselves, their bodies and what they do with their bodies.. I know because I am still fat and it was because I was lazy in the way I ate, never worked out etc. I have no one to blame but myself for it and I know it.

What happens after having obesity for years and not changing habits of the way we eat and live? People are known to develop diseases as their main cause of obesity. From then spirals a whole new issue of medical bills, medications, hospitalizations, and worse an early death.

Just another excuse of why people are doing what they do, just to feel better about themselves ...oooo it's a disease, well then, that is not so bad now... what will be next? People will be able get a disability check because of it and another reason to live off from the government?

Edited by: JGIRL5799 at: 6/19/2013 (10:54)
Julie

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EMPRESSAMQ's Photo EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
6/19/13 9:10 A

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I don't know. I haven't been in the obesity category for more than two decades now and for me, health would suffer if I ever re-entered that category. So if it is a disease I don't have the disease so just as I don't want to have lung cancer I don't smoke (or desire to). But food is a more complex issue and I think we poorly understand all the ramifications of eating and how it affects our body. However, I think we all get it that in MOST (not all) cases, obesity is the result of some kind of disconnect between what and how much we eat and move that causes the state of obesity.

Or is there? I don't know the total answer to that except in relation to my own case. My weight is the direct result of how much I eat and how much I move.

Lol, or is it? Again, there are factors even about my own journey that I do not understand.

So I guess as far as the AMA calling obesity a disease, I personally believe it is really too early in our understanding of obesity to do that.

However, calling it a disease will be helpful to people who still struggle with this painful issue, in my opinion, as it will over time de-stigmatize it and it will allow people to get help more readily, in my opinion. So I think it is okay to call it a disease.

Edited by: EMPRESSAMQ at: 6/19/2013 (09:11)
Moving in new directions.


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ANARIE's Photo ANARIE Posts: 12,436
6/19/13 8:50 A



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Smoking is an action; lung cancer caused by smoking is a disease. Drinking alcohol is an action; cirrhosis of the liver caused by drinking is a disease. Unprotected sex is an action; cervical cancer caused by HPV contracted through unprotected sex is a disease. Working in a coal mine is an action; black lung caused by working in a coal mine is a disease. See where I'm going with this?

The primary reason obesity isn't listed as a disease yet is that it's protective against osteoporosis and a few other conditions associated with being underweight. The thinking was that if it had benefits, it couldn't be called a disease. I don't know what made them decide to change that, but it was never an issue of it being an action or being preventable. They didn't define overeating as a disease, they defined obesity, the outcome of overeating and other causes, as a disease.

If you're not going to define obesity as a disease because it's preventable and usually reversible by the patient's own actions, then you would have to take high blood pressure off the list, too. Most people with hypertension wouldn't have it if they would just change their diet, exercise, lifestyle, and personality. But that doesn't mean it's not a disease.



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ON2VICTORY's Photo ON2VICTORY SparkPoints: (47,530)
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6/19/13 8:45 A



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I belive that in rare cases, obesity IS a disease. there are certain medical conditions that can bring it on. I dont remember what they are off hand but in those cases, it is beyond the individuals control. outside of that, obesity is a symptom rather than a disease.

It is a symptom of the culture that we have created for ourselves, a symptom of the sedentary life that we live and a result of the pleasure first rather than nutrition first mindset that is the norm of eating today and yes, I do believe in the addictive tendencies that certain salt, sugar, fat combinations can create. Addictive tendencies, sendentary lifestyle, poor/uninformed choices and a culture that pushes unhealthy food because it tastes good do not qualify as a disease.

Obesity is a symptom of a larger problem.

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6/19/13 7:07 A

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This is a hard one, as there are some medical conditions that can cause weight gain, and trouble keeping a persons weight under control. So I guess in some ways it is.

On the other hand there are those who just plain over eat, and gain weight.

"ChaChaChaCHANGES"!!!!!


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CMCOLE's Photo CMCOLE Posts: 2,667
6/19/13 7:05 A

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Personally,I believe there are those who have addictive tendencies about a lot of things.
Food can be one.

However, sometimes I believe it is easier for people to claim a disease rather than an addiction (or, in my dad's words, a "hand to mouth" problem).

That way, they can use the excuse that they can't help themselves, I guess.

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6/19/13 6:16 A

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Just wanted to throw this topic out there for people's comments. This morning I heard on the news that the AMA has determined that OBESITY is to be termed a disease? Is it really a disease or is it an action akin to smoking? Smoking is a habit that is a choice you make, an action you choose to take yet can obesity be categorized similarly? My feelings are that Obesity is not a disease yet the AMA should recognize and fund obesity related drugs and surgeries for people who qualify.

What are your thoughts?



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