Friday, June 21, 2013

Obesity is a disease, really?

So, Tuesday was a major day for the AMA...
They voted obesity as a disease.

From Wikipedia:
"Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems"

"Dieting and physical exercise are the mainstays of treatment for obesity."

I see the one side that allows people wanting the help in losing weight to access more opportunities through medical intervention and programs they might not be able to afford without assistance from health care plans without obesity being a disease.

But, I just don't know if obesity can really be a disease.  In a lot of instances, it's self inflected.  It's not a virus or a bacteria that causes a condition, usually.

It's a touchy subject...
One on hand, it's a life choice.  Choose to eat crap foods and a sedentary lifestyle, and you will end up obese.  There are plenty in this category and they have no one to blame but themselves, and there are those suffering real medical conditions that prohibit their bodies from working properly.  But, obesity isn't the cause for the latter, it's the results of a disease or other condition.

Sadly I see it as a way for able-bodied people that have the physical ability to work out and eat right, but are obese, to find an excuse and a crutch not to lose weight.  They can just look at their doctor and blame them for not prescribing the right meds or workout program.  They can blame their doctor for not getting weight off fast enough.  It's not the doctor's job to make someone workout and eat right, it should be that person's responsibility and internal desire to want to be healthy and live a long life. The doctors can point to the right tools, but people need to choose to ditch the drive-thru and stop watching so much tv (gross over simplification).

That's all pretty severe, but there are external factors that has lead to this problem as well.

Society has made this easy.  Thank you McDonalds and Burger King for the 5 minute drive through, pink slime burgers and greasy fries.

We are also now in the digital age where a lot of society is looking for immediate gratification, of anything.  Facebook on our phones, google on our tablets, DVR... you name it.

If you can't see results after one week, then why should we keep doing it?

To lose weight and live healthy takes months and years to correct, and maybe classifying obesity as a disease is one way to stem the tide, but I think it's a band-aid solution.

As long as you have Ronald McDonald and Starbucks pushing quick and calorie packed treats and meals and being so accessible, it will take more than calling a condition a disease.  And don't get me wrong, I enjoy my occasional white chocolate mocha from Starbucks ever now and again, but within reason and not every day.

You can't mess with free will by banning fast food, but you have to inspire people to want better foods and active lives.

At our house we don't eat 100% clean.  You can't in this day and age with two working parents and kids.  We have worked out a system to eat good and then we have cheat days and indulge in greasy burgers and Cold Stone desserts, but in moderation.

Somewhere along the line, young children and adults needs to be educated and interested in living healthy.  Maybe calling obesity a disease will results in funding long term for programs, but I see short term the result being people looking for quick fixes, failing and giving insurance providers extra incentive to drop people from coverage that are diagnosed with the obesity disease.  It's going to hurt, but at least it's a change I guess.
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