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Obesity as a Disease

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Abstract

As a health care professional it is our position statement that obesity should be considered as a disease. Overweight and obese adults are considered at risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and certain type of cancers. An average of 300,000 deaths is associated with obesity and the total economic cost of obesity in U.S. was about $ 117 billion in 2000. As health care professionals it is our responsibility to increase public awareness of health consequences of over weight and obesity. Obesity as a disease: Obesity fits all the definitions of ‘disease’, that is, interruption in bodily function.

II. Position Statement

Obesity is a growing health problem and leading cause of preventable deaths in U.S. As a health care professional it is our position statement that obesity should be considered as a disease. Over weight along with obese are also at risk for many diseases. However, it is our recommendation that expenses related to weight reduction program should only be paid to cure a specific obesity related disease. Medicare and insurance companies should not make payment for treatment of obesity unrelated to a medical condition such as improving a person’s general appearance and well being. As treatment in this context has not been determined to be reasonable and necessary. Various kinds of programs such as nutrition education and importance of physical activity must be offered to over weight individuals. Also we must adapt a sensitive approach to change our national perspective of obesity and over weight from an issue of appearance to an issue of health concern.

III. Key Points

1. Diseases related to obesity: Overweight and obese adults are considered at risk for developing diseases such as type II diabetes, hypertension, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and some type of cancers.

2. What is obesity costing U.S.: An average of 300,000 deaths is associated with obesity and the total economic cost of obesity in U.S. was about $ 117 billion in 2000.

3. Obesity as a disease: Obesity fits all the definitions of ‘disease’, that is, interruption in bodily function.

IV. Supporting Facts

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...2. Weinstein R.A. et al (2004) Relationship of Physical Activity vs. Body Mass Index with Type 2 Diabetes in Women. JAMA, Sept. 8, 2004. Vol 292, No. 10 (Reprinted).

3. Canoy D. et al (2004) Abdominal obesity and respiratory function in men and women in EPIC-Norfolk Study, U.K. Amer. J. Epidemiol, 2004;159 (12): 1140-1149.

4. Wysong P. (Aug. 2004) Obese Mid-Lifers at Higher Risk of Dementia. Medical Post. Toronto. Vol. 40, Iss. 30; pg 8.

5. Schwimmer B.J. et al (2003) Health Related Quality of Life of Severely Obese Children and Adolescents. (Reprinted) JAMA, April 9, 2003 Vol. 289, No. 14.

6. Puska P., Nishida C., (2003) Obesity and Over weight. Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. World Health Organization.

7. Mokdad H.A. et al (2004) Actual Causes of Death is the U.S., 2000. (Reprinted) JAMA, March 10, 2004 Vol. 291, No. 10.

8. Allison B.D. et al (1999) Annual Deaths Attributable to Obesity in the U.S. (Reprinted) JAMA, October 27, 1999 Vol. 282, No. 16.
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