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American Medical Association Now Recognizes Obesity As Disease

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is an Emmy award-winning medical journalist, who...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Dana Neeman has lost 100 pounds after weight loss surgery and wants to lose another hundred.

“I’ve been overweight my entire life,” said Neeman. “I’ve always joked I was born overweight. I was born 10 pounds, four ounces.”

Obesity affects one out of every three American adults. Now, the American Medical Association is recognizing obesity as a disease. The new distinction could lead to new interventions and preventive measures.

“Up until now, we’ve always had to talk about other things, diabetes, hypertension, whereas the underlying problem is actually the obesity,” says Dr. Marc Itskowitz, an internist at Allegheny General Hospital.

Obesity is defined as being more than 35 pounds overweight, or having a body mass index of 30 or more. Obesity is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other illnesses.

“It’s a very complex, complicated disorder. Some of it’s behavioral. Some of it’s genetic,” says Dr. Itskowitz. “We need medication. We need counseling. Dietary issues.”

But not everyone thinks it should be classified as a disease.

“I think you have control over it more than people admit to,” says one woman.

“Our country overall isn’t educating people enough on nutrition,” says another.

“Majority of people, they just eat too much. Yes, I would consider this a disease, in the mind really,” said one man.

Neeman supports the new designation.

“Obviously, it’s not all a lifestyle if I’ve tried and tried and tried to lose weight and was unsuccessful. There’s something predisposed inside of me genetically that obviously plays a part,” she says.

She hopes the new classification will help obese people stop feeling like outcasts and start changing their lives.

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