Source: Nanci Hellmich / USA Today
The American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician organization, decided Tuesday to recognize obesity as a disease that requires a range of medical interventions for treatment and prevention.
The decision was made at the group’s annual meeting in Chicago.
Experts in obesity have struggled for years to have obesity recognized as a disease that deserves medical attention and insurance coverage as do other diseases. Previously the AMA and others have referred to obesity as “a major public health problem.”
“The American Medical Association’s recognition that obesity is a disease carries a lot of clout,” says Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “The most important aspect of the AMA decision is that the AMA is a respected representative of American medicine. Their opinion can influence policy makers who are in a position to do more to support interventions and research to prevent and treat obesity.”
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