This week, the American Medical Association labeled obesity a disease, prompting statements from major health organizations, as well as stories and editorials from media.
However, the decision was not without controversy. The AMA’s own Council on Science and Public Health of the American Medical Association issued a report expressing concern that obesity was typically diagnosed using body mass index (BMI), a measure that is imprecise and not always associated with poor health outcomes.
UGA nutrition and health specialist Connie Crawley says the AMA decision puts obesity in the same light as other long-term diseases, such as diabetes. “Diabetes is a long-term condition, just like obesity is, and it is basically is never cured,” Crawley said. “It’s just managed.” She also noted that “Calling obesity a disease also takes some of the stigma away that it is just a personal flaw in one’s character that causes it—just like drug addition or alcoholism are diseases.”