You may ask is obesity a disease?
The answer to this question is not a simple one. Whether you ask the World Health Organization, American Medical Association or the American Obesity Association you will get differing opinions on whether obesity should be classified as a disease.
This is a question that we at What Is Obesity have put some thought into ourselves. Classifying obesity as a disease could potentially lead to more resources being put into further research and treatment of obesity and its related symptoms. This classification could also potentially lead to easier access to treatment for those suffering with this condition. If more insurers covered obesity treatments early there would be less long term costs in regards to obesity.
There are some unfortunate complications of calling obesity a disease.
There are a number of experts that feel a disease classification would lead to less people taking responsibility. I personally feel that the people that are going to make excuses will do it whether obesity is a disease or a condition. To this writer this argument is at best pointless.
A potential more serious problem that I feel may come with obesity being considered a disease is discrimination. I believe the prejudices and ridicule will be even worse when an obesity diagnosis is confirmed as a disease. I know I could be way off base in this (It wouldn’t be the first time). It seems to me that the ridicule directed towards people who are overweight is not only condoned but encouraged by persons in positions of power, such as in the media or politicians. Possibly a disease classification of obesity would create protections but I doubt it.
Back to the question at hand is obesity a disease.
A web search provides the following definition of disease. “A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury”
So is obesity a disorder of structure or function? As a simple layman that has dealt with obesity I’m going to go with yes. Are there specific obesity symptoms? I think most would agree there are many. I could list them here but I think we all know the major symptoms of obesity.
At this point the answer to is obesity a disease is one that will still take much debate and even more bureaucracy before a definitive decision is made. The designation will be ultimately decide based on profit potential for doctors insurance companies and big pharma. That seems to just be the way it works.
Classifying obesity as a disease could lead to major advancements in obesity research. There have been some great inroads when it comes to obesity research this extra push could be all that is needed to find a major way to win this fight.
This extra research is needed there is so much more that we just don’t know about, like why so much of the world is becoming fat. Those that believe that it is as simple as calories in versus calories expended have their heads firmly stuck up… (Maybe I should go with) in the sand.
Is obesity a disease? I don’t know. Should we call it a disease? Yes, if only for the sake of the additional research. The argument against, that less people will take responsibility is weak at best.
For a great paper on is obesity a disease check out this link from the obesity society.