OK, so last week I wrote a post in support of the AMA’s decision to call obesity a disease. I still stand by that. The medical community has long recognized Anorexia and Bulimia as diseases and developed treatments for people with those illnesses. Obesity, on the other hand, has always been treated as a character flaw and not something that should be medically treated.
Insurance companies have refused to reimburse doctors for treatment. Many doctors’ only discussions with their obese patients is basically, “You should lose weight,” and then the patient is kind of left on their own to wade through the morass of diet products and schemes.
The consensus of some people seems to be that the medical community is only looking to make a buck. Maybe so. But, would I rather leave obese people looking for answers on late-night TV infomercials instead of talking to their doctor? And maybe having their insurance company pay for them to seek help? Maybe go to a nutritionist? Find an exercise plan that works for them? In extreme cases, find a medical solution that may include surgery or medication?
There are many people out there who advocate for fat acceptance, and I agree with them. They rightly point out that there are many people who are larger who are quite healthy. But many who are obese have serious medical problems. I know I did. And my obesity was killing me. Instead of treating the symptoms of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart problems, organ problems, sleep apnea, etc., why not just treat the illness itself? I’m tired of people treating obesity as if it is different from any other illness. As long as the obese person is seen as the problem, the treatments people need will remain elusive and inconsistent.
There has to be a middle ground somewhere. I still think the AMA made the right choice. I would rather fight a war against obesity than a war against those who are obese, which is where I feel we are now.