June 19, 2013

"The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease..."

"... a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments."

The question whether something is a disease is really beside the point, unless you define "disease" to mean: that which is helpful to view as disease.

This reminds me of those plastic surgeons who say that small breasts are a "deformity."

ADDED: Instapundit notes a discussion about a call for more "public health" research on guns and quips "[M]y suggestion to the 'public health' community is to focus on actual diseases, rather than politically-disapproved behaviors." But all you have to do is crank the rhetoric forward one turn and guns are a disease.

AND: I googled "guns are a disease" and got over 29 million hits, including: "Doctors target gun violence as a social disease" and  "I am a physician and guns are a disease" and "Treat gun violence like disease, Medical College expert says."

84 comments:

Nonapod said...

Has sexual addiction been defined by the AMA as a "disease" yet? I wonder if they will ever try to define conservatism as a disease?

virgil xenophon said...

Stand by for the appearance of the Food Nazis..

edutcher said...

It's epidemic at Walmart, apparently.

Mark O said...

Libertarian thought is a mental disease. The list is, like the "war," endless.

chuck said...

Good God, the AMA mission statement on the membershiip page is a classic of corporate PC garbage, just count the buzz words. No wonder fewer and fewer physicians join up.

jz said...

Let's define disease as "assignment of a billable code to generate revenue for the physicians called upon to treat these patients who demand their time."
So what? How is that a problem for you? Should physicians see these patients for free?

jacksonjay said...


We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome, We Shall Overcome Some Dayayay!

Aridog said...

From the article ....

In making the decision, delegates at the association's annual meeting in Chicago overrode a recommendation against doing so by a committee that had studied the matter.

In other words, the decision is political, perhaps rent seeking, and definitely not scientific.

That said, there really are some forms of obesity that are medical issues beyond food intake, and those can be identified specifically and scientifically without just rolling up obesity as all inclusive in a disease category.

How long before just having a bad attitude, like I do a lot, becomes a disease to be treated? 50 cent bullet behind the ear billed to your family perhaps?

As for the AMA ... represents maybe 29% +/- of USA doctors, and even Media Matters challenged MSNBC for alleging that AMA represents "the nations doctors" per se.

Scott M said...

Now we'll have a seemingly endless parade of righteous ragers decrying an entirely new inventory of dog-whistle terms.

Question: if the AMA officially recognizes it as a disease, how does this affect some lardo's ability to get special treatment under the Americans With Disabilities Act?

Jay said...

So I presume there will be a wave of lawsuits by obese people who are "discriminated" against in the work place coming soon?

drozz said...

So...will smoking be recognized as a disease?

virgil xenophon said...

Well, Scott M, some inventive and industrious lawyer is sure to soon find out..

wyo sis said...

"Spur more insurers to pay for treatments."

There will soon be only government insurers, and they will not be likely to pay for treatments of real medical conditions. But, we can to on pretending.

Achilles said...

We need to increase food stamp allotments so those poor obese people can afford better food. We also need to make sure it is covered under Obamacare. Wouldn't want the fatties to feel bad.

Simon said...

I don't know whether the AMA had any remaining credibility, but whatever was left has just gone up in smoke. Damnit, man, I'm a symptom, not disease!

virgil xenophon said...

And wait until some foods are found to be "addicting"--and thus forbidden. (You laugh?)

Titus said...

There was a meeting and sub meetings and then a vote and finally a written statement regarding the decision.

virgil xenophon said...

I will repeat for the nth time: Those considering themselves to possess "The Vision of the Anointed" are determined to "march us all to virtue at bayonet-point" if need be. Isn't that what Obamacare is all about?

Aridog said...

jz said...

Let's define disease as "assignment of a billable code to generate revenue for the physicians called upon to treat these patients who demand their time." ... So what?

My guess is that there are already dozens of billing codes for aspects of obesity in the newly expanded compendium of codes. They get arbitrarily assigned by clerks or automation in many cases...like my 5 foot 2 inch 110 lb better half being advised in a boiler plate latter from her provider that she "continue to lose weight" following her annual physical. Say what? She's been 110 lbs or less since high school, unchanged in 20 years or so of this providers oversight, not exactly yesterday...never mind she still exercises daily and is one very fit lady.

What triggered the comment? She has relatively high cholesterol issues, just as my vegetarian ex-wife did her whole life [5 feet tall, 105 lbs max]...will never be below 250 even drug treated. So obviously my ex and my current best half are 'fat", right? Bullshit.

At least this year Judi wasn't advised her "prostate problems had improved" thanks to an entry error of a billing code by a clerk. We wondered how she had a prostate and how they discovered it?

Welcome to the world of medical care by billing codes. If you are due for surgery I suggest you clearly mark the area to be cut up and write minimal instructions on your hide with a sharpie pen.

Titus said...

Fatties gave dramatic testimonials.

There was crying.

Nathan Alexander said...

I think to plastic surgeons, small breasts are a gold mine.

To me, they are a treasure.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Yes, the disease is Gullibleitis - an unquestioning and misplaced trust in the FDA Food Pyramid and Dietary Recommendations.

Nathan Alexander said...

Now I'm just waiting for ARM to come along and explain how liking small breasts is inconsistent with being pro-life.
Or evidence that I'm a racist, or something.

Aridog said...

Titus said...

Fatties gave dramatic testimonials....There was crying.

Did Chris Christie testify?

EMD said...

Life is a disease.

William said...

If obesity is a disease, I hope that's my terminal illness and not cancer.

lemondog said...

The American Medical Assn. voted Tuesday to declare obesity a disease, a move that effectively defines 78 million American adults and 12 million children as having a medical condition requiring treatment.

Obamacare, here we come!

A disease without a definition.

traditionalguy said...

May I suggest free running shoes for all fat people. The NSA would get a chance to implant a chip in the heels and trck them and keep the data forever and ever. It would be like a mini-Big Brother.

Which raises the issue of Nike running shoes coming from RED CHINA!!!

lemondog said...

Time to invest in the npharma sector specializing in diet drugs?

Michael K said...

The June meeting of the AMA is totally political. The December meeting is scientific. They long ago lost credibility with physicians.

cubanbob said...

I read a blurb on Drudge than some airline wants to charge 'over weight' passengers more. Now that the AMA has classified obesity as an illness no doubt the carrier will get a lawyers notice of a pending lawsuit. Perhaps the AMA should stop wasting time and declare that Liberalism is a mental disorder.

bagoh20 said...

Everything that makes obesity a disease of the body equally applies to how the AMA affects medicine.

Paddy O said...

Food is the new sex.

Society allows itself to be extremely judgmental based on behaviors or appearance related to food. But any and every sexual instinct is applauded.

Even as there is as much and likely more health and psychological dysfunction related to sexuality.

The Puritans haven't left. They've changed their focus. They still need something to judge and control others.

Mogget said...

Samoan airlines will offer an XL line of seating for those customers who weigh more than 285 lbs or something like that.

Bob Ellison said...

"Disease" is a vague word. If all you have a hammer, everything's a nail. In medicine, some teach that a "disease" is any malady whatsoever, be it pneumonia or a broken finger or a fat belly.

In software, people argue about what a "bug" is. Same problem.

bagoh20 said...

Even though I'm around 200 pounds, I think it's fair to charge airline passengers by weight....multiplied by 10 if they are wearing a diaper.

X said...

I've got the cure: Negative Food Stamps.

Aridog said...

bagoh20 said...

....multiplied by 10 if they are wearing a diaper.

Huzzah!

Tank said...

Dear God

Please don't make me sit on the plane next to a fat person wearing a diaper.

I'll be good. I promise.

Tank.

Larry J said...

cubanbob said...
I read a blurb on Drudge than some airline wants to charge 'over weight' passengers more.


That's a Samoan airline. I've known a few Samoans in my time. They're very nice people that tend to be on the large side. I've never seen a wimpy Samoan and I suspect they don't exist.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Just another step to be able to classify anything and anyONE that you find objectionable as having a disease.

When they classify being a conservative, being a "tea party" adherent as having a mental disease, it is just a simple step to incarceration, (for your own good of course until you can be reprogrammed to right thinking) or have your Second Amendment rights taken away.

Slippery slope. We live in a totalitarian state people. Be afraid.

elkh1 said...

Obesity is a disease: Obamacare pays for gym, Weight Watcher meals, hundred dollars outfits to uplift the obese self-esteem... Obamacare pays for Sandra's condoms, why not ...

66 said...

Disease = chronic condition that is harmful to your health

Life = chronic terminal condition

Life = disease: all sufferers are entitled to disability subsidies

elkh1 said...

Nonapod said...
I wonder if they will ever try to define conservatism as a disease?

No, that will give conservatives "victim" status, unless they can be incarcerated in sanatoriums.

traditionalguy said...

Does this mean fat people are entitled to get close in handicap parking stickers.

They already beat me to the door running in to sign up for tables on Friday nights.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The real winner here are the psychiatrists who treat patients afflicted by M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy.

AprilApple said...

According to Paul Krugman, all money wasted by the government is "Stimulus".

Methadras said...

So a totally and completely avoidable condition is now a disease?

Methadras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tibore said...

"The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease..."

... whereas the National Association of Rotund Persons declare it a lifestyle choice.

/flees

ricpic said...

And when fat people, in response to the now official societal censure, begin to exhibit higher levels of anxiety and depression than the general population the American Psychiatric Association will label them sick in the head and the process of condemning the normal while simultaneously normalizing the truly sick homosexuals will have been completed.

Michael K said...

"The Puritans haven't left. They've changed their focus. They still need something to judge and control others. "

A couple of my pals at ChicagoBoyz have a new book out called America 3.0 which is mostly a nice summary of our history. One interesting point they make is that the northeast was settled by Puritans and is still a center of puritan thinking, also called "Liberalism" by some.

Marty Keller said...

In the relentless Orwellianization of America, there is nothing new under the totalitarian sun. Stalin pioneered labeling his political opponents as nut cases, and locked them up in his psychiatric gulag. The deadly intersection of Obamacare and calling every behavior or condition that the Left judges to be "anti-social" is creepily mirroring Walter Duranty's wet dream.

Baron Zemo said...

Hey if it is ok to mock fat people and say you don't want to sit next to them on an airplane can we extend that to other groups.

Can I not want to sit next to black people because they might try to rob me while eating skittles and talking to their girlfriend on the cell phone?

Can I not sit next to gay guys because they are always singing show tunes and keep hitting me in the head with a feather boa?

Can I not sit next to liberals who will spend the whole flight telling how great Obama is and how we need to tax and spend some more?

Or should I just realize that people are entitled to be who they are and I have to deal with it even if it makes me uncomfortable.

Larry J said...

AprilApple said...
According to Paul Krugman, all money wasted by the government is "Stimulus".


Krugman apparently has never heard of the Broken Window Fallacy. Kenesian economics is the Broken Window Fallacy writ large.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Formerly, people were duped by quacks because they believed in their fake cures; now, they are duped by them because they believe in their fake diseases." -- Thomas Szasz

S. Roosevelt said...

Statistically pathology (disease) is a condition which is outside the 95% confidence level. Since more people than that in the population have a BMI > 40 it is a finding with clinical implications but not a disease.

Ann Althouse said...

"Or should I just realize that people are entitled to be who they are and I have to deal with it even if it makes me uncomfortable."

It just got called a disease.

Ann Althouse said...

If it's I am who I am and I've gotta be me, then how dare they call it a disease?

Homosexuality used to be called a disease, offense was taken, and it was undisease-ified.

EMD said...

Well, then that settles it.

Since everyone else is paying for health care, I'm off to Hardees for some triple-bacon-cheese-something or other and a Diet Coke.

Ann Althouse said...

If they have a pill or surgery for the condition, it gets called a disease.

MadisonMan said...

I don't want to sit next to fat people, they have a disease. Is it proven definitely not contagious?

Aridog said...

EMD is joking, but I'm not....I am off, in just a moment, to a local diner for a four egg ham and cheese omelet with extra cheese....comes with a fine side of well done greasy hash browns to boot. I'll be ordering a chocolate malt to drink as well.

This post made me do it. It's not my fault. You all did it to me. [visualize Jake in blues Brothers]. :-))

Michael said...

Another reason not to touch them. Also, what if they sneeze on you?

ErnieG said...

I have a suggestion regarding the "fat people on airplanes" problem. Make them all sit on the same row.

I Callahan said...

So...will smoking be recognized as a disease?

It already is: "Tobacco Use Disorder", DX Code 305.1

Larry J said...

Baron Zemo said...
Hey if it is ok to mock fat people and say you don't want to sit next to them on an airplane can we extend that to other groups.


I'm far from skinny myself. I paid for my seat and expect to sit in it by myself. Don't sit next to me and expect to crowd me out of my seat. I'll lower the armrest and force you back into your seat. If you can't fit into one seat, pay for two.

Baron Zemo said...

Hey there are a lot of people I don't want to sit next to on an airplane. How about a mother with a screaming squirming kid? Or a smelly person? Or a liberal?

Listen if you go out in public there is a lot of stuff you have to deal with. Get over yourself.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Apparently Bitchtits Mahal now is officially classified as diseased.

Congratulations fatboy.

Christy said...

Sister had to jump through hoops to get her insurance to pay for gastric by-pass surgery and they would not pay for the plastic surgery to remove that 25 pounds of loose skin. Then she met a woman on Tenn-Care who had gotten them to pay for the gastric bypass and the plastic surgery, no problem.

It's there, maybe now we will see consistency of treatment. No sure that will be a good thing.

Astro said...

Great. More of my insurance premiums being used to pay for the medical costs of people who are too lazy to fix their own behavior.

Larry J said...

Baron Zemo said...
Hey there are a lot of people I don't want to sit next to on an airplane. How about a mother with a screaming squirming kid? Or a smelly person? Or a liberal?

Listen if you go out in public there is a lot of stuff you have to deal with. Get over yourself.


Stay in your own seat and we'll have no problems. Try to crowd me out of my seat and we'll have problems. It's as simple as that.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Marx was dissembling. Dissociation or risk, and responsibility, is the opiate of the masses.

I Callahan said...

Stay in your own seat and we'll have no problems. Try to crowd me out of my seat and we'll have problems. It's as simple as that.

In my opinion, a screaming kid kicking the back of my chair is as big a problem as crowding me out of my chair.

Which is why I just avoid flying...

Bruce Hayden said...

Let's define disease as "assignment of a billable code to generate revenue for the physicians called upon to treat these patients who demand their time."

Maybe more precisely, something that has a diagnosis code that health care providers can assign those billing codes to. So, if the diagnosis code says "hang nail", then the doctor shouldn't be billing a mastectomy to it. Real insurance companies get upset at that sort of thing - but not so sure about government provided insurance, such as Medicare.

Bruce Hayden said...

Let's define disease as "assignment of a billable code to generate revenue for the ADDED: Instapundit notes a discussion about a call for more "public health" research on guns and quips "[M]y suggestion to the 'public health' community is to focus on actual diseases, rather than politically-disapproved behaviors." But all you have to do is crank the rhetoric forward one turn and guns are a disease.

Read the linked articles, and I find this even more worrisome. Using extremely shoddy science and statistics to try to make a case against gun ownership. Apparently haven't yet learned the difference between causation and correlation, and assume the former from the latter, despite the high likelihood that both are dependent upon a third variable, notably living in a dangerous place. And, so you now have doctors asking about guns in the house. None of their business, and grounds for switching doctors - at least until mandated by KS and her interpretation of ObamaCare.

GrandpaMark said...

What defines obese? Is Santa Clause fat, or obese?
I know people 30 or 40 years out of high school who have gained a lot of weight. I am certain exercise and diet would make a difference.
I have seen people of all ages in public who obviously have some sort of physical condition(s) that adds to their fat growth and retention.
Seriously, how many "anti-obese, just diet and exercise" commenters here believe you can eat enough to get your weight up to 3, 4, or 5 hundred pounds or more?

Lucien said...

The flip side is that now arguably obese people can have a basis for claiming disability discrimination (under some state laws, if not the ADA).

Someone should write Mayor Bloomberg a letter saying they need access to big gulps as a reasonable accommodation.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Or should I just realize that people are entitled to be who they are and I have to deal with it even if it makes me uncomfortable.

Whether people are entitled to be who they are depends on who they are. So you can decline to deal with it all you like-- just so long as you don't kid yourself that you're making some sort of scientific assessment when what you're really making is a moral judgment.

DanTheMan said...

Obesity: A food borne illness.

Doug said...

Sure, that makes sense ... that way, the cost of health care is almost certain to go, um ... down, right?

wyo sis said...

Obese people earn hatred because tax dollars are soon going to be used to treat them. There is no similar outcry about people getting abortions on the tax payers dime. Also a 100 percent preventable disease.

sydney said...

Gluttony - the only sin that can't be hidden. Oh, well, they've labeled every other vice a disease, why not obesity?