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AMA classifies obesity as a disease

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

For those who are affected by obesity, health problems including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint or muscle disorders and the threat of heart attack or stroke can be prevalent.

While cholesterol testing is one kind of lab test online that can help a person gain a better picture of your overarching health, it is not the only way individuals can take control of their own wellness. Exercising, eating right and being mindful of calorie intake can be beneficial for those who want to reduce their weight and prevent obesity outright.

Combating obesity has taken on new significance in the wake of the American Medical Association's announcement on June 18 that obesity will now be classified as a disease. Experts with the AMA hope that this shift will enable healthcare providers to offer a higher level of care to those impacted by the condition and give obese men and women the impetus to act, NPR reported.

"Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans," AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D., said in a statement. "The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity."

Treating obesity like a chronic illness is a crucial step toward reducing the impact that it can have on individuals in the years to follow. The AMA's decision, according to Esa Matius Davis, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, will help broaden the resources available to healthcare specialists for the treatment of obesity.

Right now, drugs, nutritional counseling and gastric-bypass surgery are among the options explored by people and their doctors in the battle against the bulge. However, this can be costly if an insurance provider fails to provide adequate compensation, and can limit the help people are able to receive.

In addition, the declaration of the AMA that obesity is a disease may bolster research in the area by academics, which could be beneficial in helping to limit the spread of obesity in future years.

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