Written by: Carmen Chai
WED, June 19th 2013 (Global News)—-In a contentious move aimed at fighting the obesity epidemic, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease at its annual meeting.
The Tuesday night ruling is a controversial one: the AMA is the U.S.’s largest physician group and its declaration adds pressure on health officials around the world to rethink the way obesity is approached and treated.
Traditionally, obesity has been seen simply as a “risk factor” for a string of health concerns – diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart failure, for example. Canadian experts suggest its official disease status could thrust the condition into the focus of doctors, from family physicians to scientists.
“The reason nutrition experts and obesity experts want to label it as a disease is because it highlights the fact that obesity is not just a problem because it’s a risk factor for other diseases,” Dr. Anna Reid said.
Reid is the president of the Canadian Medical Association, a national organization which represents more than 76,000 doctors.
“Obesity experts and now the AMA are saying we need to reframe our thinking around this condition and we need to look at it holistically,” she told Global News.
Dr. Arya Sharma founder of the Canadian Obesity Network, says that in Canada, improvements could be made in the way obesity is addressed.
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