AMA: Obesity An Illness - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

AMA: Obesity An Illness

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BILLINGS -

A decision by the American Medical Association could change the way we look at a major health issue.

In a report by the AMA's Council on Science and Public Health, obesity, defined by the organization as having a body mass index of 30 or above, is considered to be a disease.

According to reports, two out of every three Americans are either obese or overweight, and the AMA is now saying that people who are obese require medical treatment and prevention.

Some say the decision could have an impact on medical treatment in the future.

"I was so excited that they finally classified it as a disease, because that means that maybe insurance will start covering things more readily for those out there who can't afford to have the surgery done, or the other intervention done," said Kristen Diede.

"The trouble is, there's always been that social perception that 'well, it's just a willpower issue'. That if people just did the right behaviors. Well, you can say the same thing about high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, but we still consider those as disease," said Dr. Christopher Sorli with Billings Clinic.

The AMA is recommending insurance providers get appropriate financial support and payment from third-party payers, to ensure there is an incentive to manage obesity, and the category of complex diseases associated with it.

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