AMA Declares Obesity a Disease; Is That Really Enough?
When the American Medical Association labeled obesity as a disease, they in essence turned the health care world upside down. What a boon this new disease will be for the pharmaceutical industry! But is the blue or pink pill the answer? A new breed of physician is saying that lifestyle changes including nutrition might be the solution to prevention and treatment of obesity.
Big Pharma didn't have much luck convincing people they suffered from a dreaded disease called restless leg syndrome. Though the drug companies flooded the TV channels to convince people there was a cure, viewers didn't wake up their restless legs and walk them to the nearest pharmacy.
Now the drug companies can drive their researchers nuts working them mercilessly 24/7 to create a new super pill that will make you skinny and keep you that way. With this new diet pill you can eat as much junk food as you want and still be thin. But there are nasty little surprises called side effects.
Here are some scenarios:
Rest assured, though, the drug companies will conduct numerous studies to show that their new diet pills are safe and effective. A year after the drugs are released they might be withdrawn from the market because some of the MINOR side effects may include heart attacks and strokes.
The doctors' arsenal
Lifestyle Medicine as a solution
"As the first national specialty society for clinicians emphasizing the use of lifestyle interventions in the treatment and management of disease, the ACLM is currently working to develop formal recognition for this important field of medical practice and research."
The ACLM members use these interventions in their practices:
They don't rely solely on medication in their focus on the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases like type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, insulin resistance syndrome, osteoporosis, and many types of cancer. Instead, they guide their patients into lifestyle intervention.
No nutrition gurus at the USDA
Obviously, physicians can't effectively instruct patients on what to eat because many of them know little more than their patients about healthy options. A good project for the AMA would be to demand more intensive nutrition instruction in medical schools and advocate required nutrition courses for practicing physicians.
If the AMA is serious about combating obesity, its members should focus on one of the major causes of obesity--what and how much people are eating. So much of our typical American diet is highly processed fast food marketed by Big Food Companies, Fast Food Chains, and Beverage Companies--cheap food responsible for weight gain.
Using the prescription pad effectively
It's time for the AMA and its members to step up to the plate and assume a leadership role in the battle against obesity. Just labeling obesity a disease in not enough. Doctors and their national organizations MUST BE on the front lines armed with nutritional knowledge to help patients cure this newly labeled dreaded "disease." They need to assume a dynamic role in speaking out to challenge the forces that contribute to our nation's obesity health crisis.