While leisurely checking my Facebook feed Wednesday morning, before jumping in the shower for work, I saw a post from NBC News CT discussing the AMA’s (American Medical Association) decision to recognize obesity as a disease.
While this is not news to the World Health Organization, FDA, and the IRS (just to name a few) all whom already recognize obesity as a disease; it seems to have brought to the surface the long held prejudices of many people.
Now, I know from first-hand experience that people who are overweight and obese are treated differently and looked down upon by many people, but to see these viscous and, frankly, ignorant comments in black & white were quite a shock.
For your consideration:
“Honestly; obesity is too nice a word. Lets call it Human Pig Syndrome (HPS) and see how long it takes these fattys to find a treadmill and some carrots.”
Or how about this gem?:
“I’ll have to pay for people who are too fat and lazy to take care of themselves. The next time I see an obese person eating an ice cream I’m going to slap it out of their hands.”
I could go on and on but I’ll spare you.
To say this made me angry is an understatement.
These comments, which typify the beliefs held by many people, need to be addressed. Education on the nature of disease needs to be explained.
Definition of Disease by the AMA:
“1) an impairment of the normal functioning of some aspect of the body; 2) characteristic signs or symptoms; and 3) harm or morbidity”
How does this apply to Obesity?
“Congruent with this criteria there is now an overabundance of clinical evidence to identify obesity as a multi-metabolic and hormonal disease state including impaired functioning of appetite dysregulation, abnormal energy balanced, endocrine dysfunction including elevated leptin levels and insulin resistance, infertility, dysregulated adipokine signaling, abnormal endothelial function and blood pressure elevation, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia, and systemic and adipose tissue inflammation”
“Obesity has characteristic signs and symptoms including the increase in body fat and symptoms pertaining to the accumulation of body fat, such as joint pain, immobility, sleep apnea, and low self-esteem; and hormonal and metabolic abnormalities not reversible by lifestyle interventions that will likely require multiple different risk stratified interventions for patients.”
These statements are taken directly from the AMA’s report which can be read in full here.
It’s time to put to rest the notion that obese people are simple lazy and weak.
It’s time to stop viewing obesity as some kind of moral failure or character flaw.
It’s time to stop throwing stones and finally provide help to people struggling by giving them the care and support they need.