KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

AMA: Obesity Is A Disease

Going against a recommendation by one of its committees to label it only a "major public health problem," the American Medical Association has recognized obesity as a disease.

The New York Times: A.M.A. Recognizes Obesity As A Disease
The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments. In making the decision, delegates at the association's annual meeting in Chicago overrode a recommendation against doing so by a committee that had studied the matter (Pollack, 6/18).

USA Today: Medical Group Recognizes Obesity As A Disease
Experts in obesity have struggled for years to have obesity recognized as a disease that deserves medical attention and insurance coverage as do other diseases. Previously the AMA and others have referred to obesity as "a major public health problem" (Hellmich, 6/18).

Marketplace: Doctors Look To Change The Economics Of Obesity
All you need to do is look around to know that obesity is an enormous problem in this country. In fact, in the past 30 years, the percentage of American adults who are obese has doubled. And the costs? More than $200 billion a year for everything from related illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes to lost work days. Today, at its national meeting in Chicago, the American Medical Association voted to recognize obesity as a disease (Gorenstein, 6/18).

NBC News: Obesity Is A Disease, Doctors’ Group Says
The American Medical Association officially designated obesity as a disease on Tuesday -- a disease that requires medical treatment and prevention. The organization doesn't have any kind of official say in the matter, but it’s influential nonetheless, and the vote of the AMA’s policy-making House of Delegates is one more step in the evolution of social attitudes towards obesity. … One third of Americans are obese -- and that's on top of the one-third who are overweight. Obesity is more than just a matter of carrying around too much fat, says Dr. Michael Joyner, an exercise physiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.  (Fox, 6/18).

Medpage Today: AMA House Votes Against Council, Calls Obesity A Disease
Obesity should be called a disease and not simply a condition, the American Medical Association's policy-making House of Delegates voted on Tuesday. The vote -- approved by roughly 60 percent of the AMA's full House -- goes against the recommendation of its Council on Science and Public Health, which issued a report earlier this week saying that calling obesity a disease would be problematic. The resolution was backed by delegates from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians (Pittman, 6/18).

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