Obesityis a Disease
TheUnited States is listed as the second most obese country in the world(Obesity). A 2016 report indicates that 36.5% of the Americanpopulation is obese, compared to the mid-1970s where only 14% of thepopulation was obese. 10% of US healthcare funding goes to obesity.The issue of whether obesity is a disease or not has attractedsignificant attention over the past years. On one hand, practitionerscontend that acknowledging obesity as a disease will help change theway society handles the condition (Pollack). On the other hand,clinicians argue that obesity cannot be associated with a particularset of symptoms thus, it cannot be classified as a disease. Thispaper develops an argument that seeks to bring the reader to a betterunderstanding of the concept and why it is not a disease.
Obesityis perceivable as the presence of excess body fat, which increasesthe possibility of medical illness and premature mortality (Kumanyikaand Brownson 25). In some cases, individuals may have excess body fatin the incidence of reduced muscle mass and a related healthy weight.Obese people are, more often than not, overweight. However,overweight individuals may not necessarily be obese. Research hasindicated that individuals may have normal body fat but large musclemass. Thus, such individuals can be categorized as an overweightperson but not obese.
Reputableagencies such as the American Medical Association have recognizedobesity as a disease (Pollack). The reason for this decision may beattributed to the fact that obesity results in the development ofailments such as cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders,and some cancers (World Health Organization). However, research alsosuggests that the best was to treat obesity is by eating a healthydiet, exercising, and reducing the amount of calorie intake (WorldHealth Organization). Thus, if one maintains eats the right type offood and exercises regularly, he or she can never become obese.Ordinarily, diseases affect even the healthiest of individuals and,in addition, ailments cannot be cured by consuming balanced diets andexercising regularly one has to seek the help of a physician. Thus,to a larger extent, Obesity does not meet the threshold of beingconsidered a disease.
Also,to determine whether a person is obese or not, a Body Mass Index isusually used. An individual with a BMI that is higher than or equalto 25 is considered overweight while a person with a BMI that isgreater or equal to 30 is considered obese (World HealthOrganization). Studies indicate that weight loss drugs have beendeveloped to help people suffering from obesity regain normalfunctioning since the condition has been proven to induce erectiledysfunction and impede hair growth. However, clinicians contend thatBMIs are not adequate measures of diagnosing obesity (Pollack). Theseclinicians argue that obesity should be viewed as a condition and nota disorder because it does not have a particular set of symptoms.Thus, perceived from this viewpoint, a condition should not be viewedas a disease if it cannot be associated with a particular set ofsymptoms.
Ina recap of the above discussion, the question of whether obesity is adisease or not has attracted noteworthy attention over the pastyears. On one hand, specialists contend that acknowledging obesity asa disease will help change the way society handles the condition. Onthe contrary, health practitioners contend that obesity cannot beassociated with a particular set of symptoms thus, it cannot beclassified as a disease.
Brownson,Ross C., and Shiriki Kumanyika. "Obesity Prevention: Charting aCourse to a Healthier Future." Handbook of Obesity Prevention(2007): 515-528. Web. 4 July 2016.
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Pollack,Andrew. "A.M.A. Recognizes Obesity As A Disease". Nytimes.com.N.p., 2013. Web. 9 July 2016.
WorldHealth Organization. "Obesity and Overweight". WorldHealth Organization.N.p., 2016. Web. 9 July 2016.