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AMA declares obesity a disease needing treatment

June 19, 2013 at 2:02 AM
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CHICAGO, June 19 (UPI) -- The American Medical Association declared obesity a disease, which means 90 million U.S. adults and children have a medical condition requiring treatment.

After a debate Tuesday, members of the AMA's House of Delegates rejected advice of their own experts and extended the new status for obesity to a condition that affects more than a third of U.S. adults and 17 percent of U.S. children, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1-in-3 Americans," Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member, told the Times.

The vote might pressure health insurance companies to reimburse physicians for the time-consuming task of discussing obesity's health risks with patients whose body mass index exceeds 30 and encourage doctors to direct their patients to weight-loss programs.

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