According to the American Medical Association, as of yesterday I have a disease today.
Yesterday, the AMA declared obesity to be a disease, and based on my body mass index, I'm obese.
It doesn't matter that I'm in great shape, that I play an aggressive racquetball game, can run a mile or more, that I work out regularly. The AMA says I am obese, so I have a disease.
I've never had a very high opinion of the AMA and now that opinion has sunk even lower. The talking heads are saying this decision is a good thing. I
think it's bullshit disagree.
As it happens, the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health, recommended against the decision,saying, in a statement
" Based on its interpretations of definitions of disease in common use, the Council argued that it was premature to classify obesity as a disease, citing the lack of characteristic signs or symptoms due to obesity, as well as evidence of any true causal relationships between obesity and morbidity and/or mortality."
The council questioned the use of the Body Mass Index (BMI) measure as the criterion for obesity, saying,
" While co-morbidities generally increase as BMI increases, a number of research studies report no effect--or even slightly protective effects--of overweight and obesity on mortality risk... "
The council concluded,
" Without a single, clear, authoritative, and widely-accepted definition of disease, it is difficult to determine conclusively whether or not obesity is a medical disease state. Similarly, a sensitive and clinically practical diagnostic indicator of obesity remains elusive. Obesity, measured by BMI, is clearly associated with a number of adverse health outcomes, with greater consistency across populations at the highest BMI levels. However, given the existing limitations of BMI to diagnose obesity in clinical practice, it is unclear that recognizing obesity as a disease, as opposed to a "condition" or "disorder," will result in improved health outcomes. The disease label is likely to improve health outcomes for some individuals, but may worsen outcomes for others.
What is clear is that a better measure of obesity than BMI alone is needed..."
What is clear to me is that the medical profession, in an unholy alliance with corporations, is moving the healing profession further and further down the slippery slope of pathologization, just as psychiatry is doing. Cui bono is a question I like to ask-- Who benefits?
First, I should make one thing clear. Just because the AMA says it's a disease doesn't make it a disease. But the AMA does have clout and this position will have an effect.
I'm wondering when they'll begin identifying some more diseases:
-television/couch potato butt
-biggie fries syndrome
-porn repetitive strain injury wrist
-political anger management disorder (PAMD)
-Outrage burnout (a form of depression that follows extended cases of PAMD)
Of course, there will be new pharmaceutical solutions or in-patient treatment programs, as well as blood tests and other diagnostic procedures that will come of these. Other news sources are reporting that there are two relatively new anti-obesity drugs on the market. I wonder how the stock prices of their producers are doing.
I've written this feeling a lot of suspicion about the motivations of the AMA-- a political body that is usually more interested in it's members incomes and influence than in the public health. Most of the doctors I've respected either never joined or quit the organization long ago, and it represents a smaller and smaller percentage of physicians.
But I'm not sure how this new position will affect Americans. That's where YOU come in. What do you think?
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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