STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) – One third of the nation’s adult population is considered obese and now the American Medical Association has classified obesity as a disease.
The American Medical Association says obesity is no longer just a chronic condition but a disease and it should be treated as such by medical professionals.
This week the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease. More than 78 million Americans and 12 million children are considered obese. MSU Nutritionist Mandy Conrad says the decision will have a major impact on healthcare.
“Over the past 30 years, we have seen a rise in American’s weight. So that’s important because of the impact it has on healthcare, healthcare costs. So I think it was getting to a point that something has to be done and maybe having this classification is a just a step in further addressing it in the health community,” says Conrad.
The new designation will also impact the insurance industry, and their coverage of obesity-related care. It will also change the way physicians treat their over weight patients.
“With physicians taking a more proactive approach it’s going to pressure insurance companies to provide coverage for those meds and surgeries associated with obesity,” says Jimmy Galloway of Galloway, Chandler and McKinney Insurance.
Some opponents of the decision believe obesity should be combatted with diet and exercise, but Conrad says the designation will raise awareness about obesity treatment.
“People are going to associate obesity with a sickness but it’s really more of something that increases your health risks and therefore, something that you can get treatment for to decrease those health risks. So I think that’s more of the approach that this classification is trying to go with,” says Conrad.
In the past, obesity has been referred to as a “chronic health condition” or “major health concern”.