A year ago the American Medical Association charged its Council on Science and Public Health with studying whether or not obesity should be considered a disease. Today they ignored that council’s recommendation and now, per the American Medical Association, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Cruise, Barry Bonds and I all have the same disease.
So does that mean that Tom Cruise needs to start diet pills? Does Barry Bonds have to sign up for Weight Loss surgery? After all, they are obese by the clinical definition and obesity is a disease per the AMA So you can see why the Council on Science and Public Health thought this was a bad idea. The “disease” is a body size, the “cure” is to change the body size and nobody has to take any health measurements at all. This does not have the feel of sound science.
But really it’s just the Council on Science and Public Health and what do they know about
science and public health making a profit for pharmaceutical companies?
“Companies marketing the products will be able to take this to physicians and point to it and say, ‘Look, the mother ship has now recognized obesity as a disease’” says Morgan Downey, a self-identified advocate for obese people and publisher of the online Downey Obesity Report. I’ve got to say, with advocates like this, who need detractors. Morgan gets paid to consult for organizations that represent companies that market these products, so it’s a good day for him.
In a blatant attempt at “if wishing made it so” the AMA resolution stated hypotheses as if they were facts:
Whereas, Weight loss from lifestyle, medical therapies, and bariatric surgery can dramatically reduce early mortality, progression of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease risk, stroke risk, incidence of cancer in women, and constitute effective treatment options for type 2 diabetes and hypertension;
It’s important to note that there is not a single study that proves this. They forgot the last sentence which is “We guess.” They also ignore the fact that many obese people never develop these issues and plenty of thin people have them. Not to mention that one reasons that good research doesn’t exist is that so few people have lost weight long term that there aren’t even enough to study. That’s because there aren’t any weight loss methods that are shown to work long term for more than a tiny fraction of participants, and studies don’t have a success criteria that included a change in BMI, often the “successful” weight loss amounts to 2-5 pounds. There’s weight loss surgery but that has a high rate of weight regain and may have a 700% greater chance of dying in the first year alone and no proof that those who underwent the surgery have any better health outcomes than they would have if they had skipped the surgery and practiced healthy habits, so that’s questionable at best.
So against their own recommendations the AMA declared body size – including my body size – to be a disease. No actual health measurements necessary, just a quick ratio of your weight and your height and they’ve got you diagnosed. They aren’t the first, the NIH has considered me, Mel Gibson, and most NFL linemen to have a disease for a while now. No matter how many organizations say it, I don’t think it’s medically and scientifically sound. I do think it’s profit driven.
I’m still going to the doctor’s office as the CEO of my healthcare team. I’m still going to say the same things at the doctor’s office, I’m still going to insist on appropriate, evidence-based health care. I will continue to defend my amazing body from any and all attacks. So bring it on AMA, I’m a fat woman, but I will not be your cash cow.
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