Obesity A Disease Whose Time Has Come

Obesity: A Disease Whose Time Has Come
Bariatric Science: A Science Whose Time Has come


Obesity is the pandemic of the 21st century. Nonetheless, this most “visible of medical conditions” remains invisible to most third party payers. Insurance companies underwrite and spend billions on treating co-morbid diseases of obesity (diabetes, hypertension, CVD etc) and ignore what is most often the root of these diseases- obesity. Why?

Hippocrates: The Father of the Obesity Stigma

There is no medical condition that is more burdened with long standing discrimination then that of obesity. Beginning with the Hippocrates nostrum that weight can be controlled by deciding to eat less and exercise more, stigmatized “fat people” have been held responsible for their plight. They continue suffering, from the physical and metabolic burdens of excess weight as well as the psychosocial finger pointing at personal failures that assume weak willpower. This tired and biased dogmatic thinking has been devolving through the ages. With narrow minded, simplistic and ineffective solutions, it ís no wonder why health insurers continue to ignore reimbursement for the most prevalent health problem in the US.

Kudos to the American Medical Association

On June 18, 2013, the AMA House of Delegates voted and classified obesity as “a disease state with multiple pathophysiological aspects requiring a range of interventions”. The AMA, the largest physician organization in the US has taken the lead by classifying obesity a disease. A disease whose time has come. This classification by the prestigious AMA will undoubtedly encourage private health insurance companies to recognize obesity as a disease which requires interventions and coverage. Kudos to the American Medical Association.

Bariatric Science: A Science Whose Time Has Come

With the majority of adult Americans now over-the-weight they want to be and thanks to AMA leadership it is likely that the diagnosis of obesity will indeed be receiving well deserved insurance coverage for interventions in the near future. That is the good news, the bad news is physicians often report that dealing with obesity is frustrating and most conventional treatments have been ineffective. All would agree that physicians and most health professionals have minimal training in emerging field of bariatric science. Bariatric Science is an evidence-based science that focuses on the research, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of obesities and its related disorders. Bariatric science embodies biological mechanisms, psychological processes and social influences; it is the nexus of physiology, neurobiology, biochemistry, genetics, psychology, nutrition and other sciences.

From Stigma To Solutions

Nicolette Pace who is the National Director of Public Policy and Media Spokesperson for the American Association of Bariatric Counselors (AABC) said, “bariatric science is a science whose time has come and the American Association of Bariatric Counselors is offering physicians and other licensed health professionals, continuing education and an opportunity for credentialing in this new and necessary 21st century specialty. The goal of AABC is to develop specialized bariatric education and credentialing standards for already licensed/certified professionals from diverse disciplines and also to provide the public with trained, credentialed and recognized obesity specialists. Recognizing obesity as disease and the advent of bariatric science will help us finally move from stigma to solutions for millions worldwide”.

For more information about the American Association of Bariatric Counselors www.aabc-certification.org

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