The American Medical Association voted last week to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment. Obesity is certain a spectacular issue but will this move from the AMA help make things better? Here’s how some leading commentators from the low carb community have responded, after an extract of the news as reported in the LA Times…
The nation’s leading physicians organization took the vote after debating whether the action would do more to help affected patients get useful treatment or would further stigmatize a condition with many causes and few easy fixes.
In the end, members of the AMA’s House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,” said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.
More at: AMA declares obesity a disease
Here’s some thoughts from the Diet Doctor…
Personally I don’t look at obesity as a disease. I see obesity as a symptom of a disturbed weight regulation, which is often due to a hormonal problem. Most commonly having way too much insulin in the blood. Obese people often have 5 – 10 times normal levels of insulin. But there are many other possible problems that can also lead to the symptom of obesity.
Thus obesity is a symptom of a disease. The underlying disease is often metabolic syndrome, resulting in too much fat-storing insulin. The cause of metabolic syndrome is often decades of eating too much sugar and other processed junk carbohydrates.
More at: Obesity is Now a Disease, Says AMA
And then from Dr William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, who sees an even more worrying possibility…
Obesity advocacy groups hailed the decision as a major victory. AMA Board Member, Dr. Patrice Harris, said, “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.” Joseph Nadglowski, president and CEO of the Obesity Action Coalition, a non-profit obesity advocacy group, felt that identifying obesity as a disease may also help in reducing the stigma often associated with being overweight.
It all sounds good, doesn’t it? Let unstigmatize obesity. Let’s not blame the victim. Let’s get these people help when and where they need it.
Step back a second. How and why did this happen?
Well, it’s hard to know how the internal discussions at the AMA went until we get a look at the transcripts. But let’s take a look at the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). I believe it tells the whole story.
The OAC Board of Directors is filled with bariatric surgeons, such as Drs. Titus Duncan and Lloyd Stegemann, people who make a living from procedures and surgeries like gastric bypass and lap-band. The largest contributors to the OAC? Eisai Pharmaceuticals, maker of BELVIQ, the new drug for weight loss; Ethicon EndoSurgery, makers of laparoscopic operating room supplies; Vivus, Inc., another obesity drug maker; the American Society for Bariatric Surgeons; and Orexigen, developer of the combination drug naltrexone-buproprion for weight loss, now in FDA application stage. (Recall that naltrexone is the opiate blocking drug taken by heroin addicts but now being proposed to be gain approval for weight loss.)
In other words, while it is being cast as something being done for the public good, the motivation is more likely to be . . . money: Bariatric surgeons gain by expanding the market for their procedures to patients who previously did not have insurance coverage for this “non-disease”; operating room supply manufacturers will sell more equipment for the dramatically increased number of surgical procedures; obesity drug manufacturers will have the clout to pressure health insurers to cover the drugs for this new disease.
More at: The monetization of obesity