Reasons obesity is considered a disease

Reasons obesity is considered a disease

Years of research have led doctors to conclude that obesity is a health condition that’s more than a “calories-in, calories-out” concept.

For example, doctors have foundTrusted Source some genes may increase a person’s hunger levels, which leads them to eat more food. This can contribute to obesity.

Also, other medical diseases or disorders can cause a person to gain weight. Examples include:

hypothyroidism
Cushing’s disease
polycystic ovary syndrome
Taking certain medications for other health conditions can also lead to weight gain. Examples include some antidepressants.

Doctors also know that two people who are the same height can eat the same diet, and one may be obese while the other isn’t. This is due to factors such as a person’s base metabolic rate (how many calories their body burns at rest) and other health factors.

The AMA isn’t the only organization that recognizes obesity as a disease. Others that do include:

World Health OrganizationTrusted Source
World Obesity Federation
Canadian Medical Association
Obesity Canada
Reasons obesity is not considered a disease
Not all medical experts agree with the AMA. These are just a few of the reasons some may reject the idea that obesity is a disease, given the current methods available for measuring obesity and its symptoms:

There’s no clear way to measure obesity. Because the body mass index doesn’t apply to everyone, such as endurance athletes and weightlifters, doctors can’t always use BMI to define obesity.

Obesity doesn’t always reflect poor health. Obesity can be a risk factor for other medical conditions, but it doesn’t guarantee a person will have health problems.

Some doctors don’t like calling obesity a disease because obesity doesn’t always cause negative health effects.

A number of factors influence obesity, some of which can’t be controlled. While eating choices and physical activity level can play a role, so can genetics.

Some medical expertsTrusted Source express concern that calling obesity a disease can “foster a culture of personal irresponsibility.” Because doctors often want their patients to take an active role in their health, some worry classifying obesity as a disease may affect how people treat their health or think of their options and their abilities.

Defining obesity as a disease may increase discrimination for those with obesity. Some groups, such as the Fat Acceptance at Every Size movement and the International Size Acceptance Association, have expressed concern that defining obesity as a disease allows others to further separate and classify persons as obese.

The complicated nature of obesity
Obesity is a complicated and emotional issue for many people. Researchers know there are many factors at play, including genetics, lifestyle, psychology, environment, and more.

Some aspects of obesity are preventable — a person can ideally make changes to their diet and exercise routine to build and maintain their heart health, lung capacity, range and speed of motion, and comfort.

However, doctors know that some people make these changes, yet still are unable to lose significant amounts of weight.

For these reasons, the debate over obesity as a disease will likely continue until other methods for numerically and reliably determining obesity emerge

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