Obesity Declared a Disease by the American Medical Association

Many health experts say obesity is the greatest health concern our nation is facing today.

Yesterday the American Medical Association voted to declare obesity a disease.

And if it is a disease, that means one out of three people in the US are suffering from it.

But doctor's hope that this new classification will encourage more awareness and perhaps a new perspective on obesity.

It's hard not to be aware of it.

Health experts say obesity has become the United State's greatest health concern.

And now that concern, has been declared a disease by the American Medical Association.

Doctor Chris Finnell is a Bariatric Sergeon at United Regional Hospital and hopes the declaration will bring more awareness to the public.

"Framing it in the terms of a disease and making you realize that if your cells are releasing inflammatory processes that are making you eat this way, it's not that easy to break that cycle once it gets going," he said.
But he says that happens after you've hit a certain level of obesity, which is why some are hesitant to put obesity in the same category as alcoholism and cancer.

"I would say it's a disease caused by certain risk factors that you may have like not paying attention to what you eat," said Shawn Matthews a Wichita Falls resident.

But still those working in the health field, such as William Carter, who educates and pushes for preventative health measures, see this as a positive thing.
"It may make our work easier because part of what we are suppose to do is create a system change and this may make a system change in the medical community to focus more on prevention based treatments," said Carter who works for Transforming Texas.

According to one study Oklahoma is in the top ten states with the highest obesity rate at 29.2%.
And Texas isn't far behind at 28.9%.
And health officials say the classification of obesity as a disease could change the negative stigma associated.

"Saying it's a disease rather than making the patient feel like it's their shortcoming and their lack of self control maybe it will help all types of obese patients seek the treatments that they need," said Dr. Finnell.

Experts are saying those preventative measures may also change health insurance coveragePossibly paying for things like gym memberships or even things like lap band surgeries.

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