The A.M.A. on Obesity, and Other Links

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  1. ColoComment says:

    Re: obesity.

    “…and it could help improve reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery and counseling.”

    No self-interest there, eh?

    Also, that info re: prescription meds is horrific. Are we really medicating ourselves to that extent? WTF, people?

    I take no chronic meds. I take aspirin or Tylenol for an ache, OTC antihistamines for pollen allergies as they arise, and nothing else. The last two trauma-related pain prescriptions I had written (toe surgery and dislocated shoulder, respectively) I never filled.

    I eat a very low-carb diet with few processed food products. I bicycle commute 6 mi RT to work and briskly walk the dog daily for exercise. At 67, I feel great. It’s do-able, people, very do-able.

    • Tommy says:

      That’s great for you, but you have to realize that many of processed and fast foods out there are designed for people to become addicted to those foods. Some people are more vulnerable to these addictions and it then becomes more than just “personal choices.” Society should move to viewing these foods as drugs, just like we’ve done with tobacco and start treating food like it should be treated.

      • JD says:

        I largely agree. Medical treatment isn’t the answer. I don’t care whether they call it a disease or not a disease, but we’re all making choices that affect our lives based on our natural predispositions and conscious decisions.

        Food and drugs are a lot more similar than people think and we need to start understanding them more similarly, but I think that should be a lot more about downgrading drugs than upgrading food. We don’t need the government to regulate our intake, people just need to be aware of the consequences of certain actions.

      • ColoComment says:

        Maybe society SHOULD pressure individuals to avoid foods that health care practitioners are beginning to realize contribute significantly to obesity and its derivative diseases. I’m ok with that. A few PSAs showing jiggly-butt people in tight leggings trying to do toe-touches might work wonders.

        However, defining obesity as a disease that makes treatment (through possibly unproven methods) payable by a third party will only increase demand for “free” health care & increase health insurance gross costs borne by the rest of us. I’m not interested in paying a higher premium because you’re fat and you won’t stop eating processed foods.

        “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.” — George Bernard Shaw

  2. Peter says:

    “70% of Americans are on prescription drugs.”

    – this seems like a high number. Amazing

  3. Sam says:

    Is obesity a disease?

    – I don’t think there is any debate that certain genetic factors and conditions can contribute to obesity. However, I do not think that obesity in and of itself is a disease.

    • Will says:

      I agree, because no one is born obese, and the reason they become obese is because of the food they are eating.

  4. Tommy says:

    “Is obesity a disease?”

    Does it really matter? It’s a medical problem in our country that arises from the available addictive types of foods out there that lead to massive sugar and sodium intakes. If addiction is a disease, then sure, but the problem stems from companies wanting to addict people into consuming their garbage “foods,” despite there being more than enough natural foods out there for consumption. We won’t ever win this battle by treating it like a disease and medically treating obese people.

    • Craig says:

      It matters because the amount of care that doctors are required to give is significantly less if obesity is not defined as a disease for insurance coverage.

      • Tommy says:

        It still doesn’t matter a whole lot because no matter how much “care” they’re getting by doctors, the problem will never be corrected by treating it like a disease. As long as our food industry continues to profit from producing addictive foods out there that lead to obesity, then our culture will be always fighting an uphill and unwinnable battle. Well, through medicine, we would just be creating more drug dependency! sounds so logical!

        • JD says:

          True. People need to make better choices about what they eat and that starts with information. Medicating obesity will ultimately cause more problems.

    • Richard says:

      It matters.

      Remember that slight changes in how we define things can induce large behavioral changes.

      Look at studies where you change a keyword (or sentence structure), which will yield drastically different results.

      By labeling it as a disease, it may signify to many that medical care is the first thing to do to “treat” obesity, instead of treating it on your own (diet, exercise, etc.).

      It could also change physician behavior; if reimbursement rates increase, or if more procedures become billable, you could see a drift towards more reactive care instead of preventive care.

  5. Studebaker says:

    Study: patients with caregivers are more likely to be readmitted.

    Is this because the caregiver is being vigilant? Or because the caregiver wants a break?

    These two theories could be tested by examining readmission and mortality rates among similar people.

  6. Drake says:

    “Nearly one in four women ages 50-64 were found to be on an antidepressant, with 13 percent of the overall population also on antidepressants. Seventeen percent of people in the study were being prescribed antibiotics, and 13 percent were on painkilling opioids.”

    I would guess that the vast majority of the usage of painkilling opioids is for recreational use, even though it’s being prescribed by a doctor.

  7. Buster says:

    Is obesity a disease?

    Obesity could be a condition where the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone that tells our brain our stomach is full and to stop eating. It might possibly be related to a imbalance in body chemistry that tells our body to store more fat than needed (for the inevitable famines throughout evolutionary history).

    It could even be an addiction, where our brain seeks pleasure in the dopamine that eating provides. Finally, obesity could even be a mental disorder, where you cause self harm by not responding to societal cues to maintain a healthy weight.

  8. Henry says:

    I’m going to pass on making any comments about obesity. This AMA decision can be construed as purely an economic one, especially in view of the fact that 10,000 people are turning 65 every day and now they can get the government to pay for treating obesity. And it opens a can of worms relative to the American Disabilities Act for employers. What a travesty.