23 August 2013

Obesity – A Disease or Condition

This doctor that has it right about obesity. I feel that the doctor's attitude is the correct one and until we understand this, we will be following the path to a greater explosion of obesity. Dr. Claire McCarthy is the doctor and her blog says a lot. It was not until I read her blog, that I became interested in the controversy surrounding the American Medical Association's decision to label obesity as a disease.

We all know that being overweight can lead to many diseases, from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And if this isn't enough, we face the social and emotional problems. Employers can be very hard on employees that are overweight, teenagers are especially cruel to classmates that are overweight, and children are almost as cruel.

While I understand why the AMA decision is to label obesity a disease is a heated controversy, I appreciate Dr. McCarthy bringing out some of the more difficult parts that had escaped me. Yes, the obesity declaration has brought lots of attention and the pharmaceutical companies are working hard to bring out the latest and greatest pill to treat the disease. Other resources are being sought to battle this new disease.

Whether anyone is taking obesity more seriously (other than those want to make a profit off of unsuspecting people) remains to be seen. As expected the scammers are already at work and developing more money making schemes to fleece people. Already there are new ads appearing on television for natural remedies to help weight loss. I just hope people from the FDA are aware of these new ads. I feel they are making claims that will produce no results.

Since I am retired, I have no worries about what an employer will need to do, and while I have talked to one person that says he is waiting for the doctor to prescribe a pill, he has no more worries. Another person has stated that she will be going to the health food store to see what is available to help lose weight. The sales people are waiting to ring the cash register for her.

Dr. McCarthy correctly states that calling obesity a disease puts the attention on the patient, because this is how we (doctors) think about diseases. I feel this is important enough to quote her when she says, “We will never solve obesity if we don’t make healthy food and safe, affordable exercise opportunities available to everyone. We will never solve obesity if we don’t deal with the grain subsidies that make unhealthy foods so widely available and cheap. We will never solve obesity if we don’t deal with the corporate and cultural factors that contribute to selling and buying super-sized sodas and fries.”

Dr. McCarthy is the first person that I have read that brings nutrition and what we eat into the discussion. Then she really caps of the discussion with the following, “Maybe it’s better not to call it a disease or a condition. Maybe we should just call it what it is: a thief. Because it is: it’s stealing the future of our children. It is increasing their risk of health problems, shortening lifespans and even taking away employment possibilities.

Maybe if we looked at it that way, we might get mad—and getting mad may be exactly what we need. Because more than anything, solving obesity is going to take a whole lot of effort and energy on the part of every single person, no matter what their weight. It’s going to take creativity, initiative, collaboration, tenacity and a whole lot of elbow grease.

Let’s stop worrying about what we call it—and start working together to fight it. Let’s not let our children’s future be stolen.”

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