AMA House Votes Against Council, Calls Obesity a Disease

AMA: June 18, 2013

Obesity should be called a disease and not simply a condition, the American Medical Association’s policy-making House of Delegates voted on Tuesday.

The vote — approved by roughly 60% of the AMA’s full House — goes against the recommendation of its Council on Science and Public Health, which issued a report earlier this week saying that calling obesity a disease would be problematic.

The resolution was backed by delegates from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.

“We felt it’s time to take a stance and say we’re going to identify this as a disease,” AMA committee on public health member Douglas Martin, MD, told MedPage Today. “We think that’s going to send a message not only to the public but to the physician community that we really need to make it a priority and put it in our cross hairs.”

The council report struggled with the definition of a disease and the impact that calling it a disease would have on patient care.  Read more