Fat becomes a disease

Medical group decides it is time for doctors to view — and treat — obesity as a disease

By Janet Raloff, 16:43 PM June 21, 2013

One in three U.S. adults is obese, as are many children and teens. The excess flab puts them at elevated risk for a range of life-threatening diseases, from cancer to diabetes. Credit: iStockphoto

On June 18, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates signed off on a statement arguing that obesity is a disease. It said that obesity — the condition of being excessively overweight — meets all of AMA’s criteria for defining a disease. These criteria include impairing normal functions of the body, having characteristic signs or symptoms and leading to harm or poor health.

The AMA is a group of more than 215,000 U.S. doctors and medical students. AMA’s House of Delegates is a...

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