Wednesday the American Medical Association officially declared obesity a disease. That means that one in three people are recognized as diseased.
Obesity has become America’s biggest health problem. Now it has been declared a medical condition that can breed other medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and various bone and joint ailments.
The AMA says that by declaring it a disease, doctors will look at new methods for treating the growing problem. Although many who are obese have been told by a medical professional to lose weight, many more have been living with the condition without medical advice.
Some are turning to social media for help. Teens are posting images of themselves on Facebook and Instagram, and listing their progress. Positive comments from total strangers have given them encouragement to continue their progress.
I was fortunate to grow up in an age that was extremely involved in physical fitness. Even President John F. Kennedy promoted increased exercise in schools. We never stopped moving. When we were not in school, we were playing our favorite sport. On summer evenings, we didn’t watch television, we were out with the neighborhood kids playing “hide and seek.”
We walked to school. There were buses, but they were only for kids with disabilities. After school we walked to the ball field, the playground, or our friend’s home. If we were fortunate, we had bicycles, and rode them everywhere.
There were no computers, cell phones, or computer games. And many times I still wish they didn’t exist. We didn’t sit, we ran.
There were no ‘fast food joints.’ We ate breakfast at home, ate lunches our mothers packed for us, and had dinner with our family, and we were all in the same room!
Snacks were apples, oranges, or bananas. Sodas were a treat, not an everyday staple. We drank water from a water fountain, or any available hose. There was no such thing as bottled water. And the soles of our shoes wore out before the seat of our pants.
The medical profession always looks for the easy fix. Prescription medicine is a disease unto itself. And now some doctors are performing surgical procedures on obese young children and teenagers to help them lose weight.
Obesity is not a disease, as the AMA now claims. Obesity is a ‘lifestyle.’
If an adult wants to quit smoking, he or she has to change their lifestyle. If an individual is diagnosed with diabetes, they must change their lifestyle to save their own lives.
There are no quick fixes to what has become a severe obesity problem in America. If the AMA believes that officially labeling it as a disease will encourage the medical profession to seek a ‘cure’ for obesity, they’re way off base.
(The opinions expressed in this article are mine, and mine alone.)
The Guardian Express