By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Diabetes Week The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) believes the decision by the American Medical Association (A.M.A.) the nation's largest physician group, to officially recognize obesity as a disease is a watershed moment that will help improve access to medically necessary and scientifically proven prevention and treatment strategies and remove the societal stigma attached to obesity (see also American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery ASMBS).
"Many private health insurers, employers and state health plans specifically exclude the treatment of obesity and severe obesity from their coverage policies," said Jaime Ponce, MD, President of the ASMBS, the largest organization for bariatric and metabolic surgeons and integrated health professionals in the world. "Recognition of obesity as a disease by the A.M.A. sends a powerful message that access to evidence-based treatments across the spectrum of the disease are medically necessary and should be treated in similar fashion to treatments for type 2 diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure."
Obesity is one of the greatest public health and economic threats facing the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports more than 72 million Americans have obesity and, according to the ASMBS, about 24 million have morbid obesity. Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of premature death compared to healthy weight individuals, as well as an increased risk of developing more than 30 obesity-related diseases and conditions including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.(i,ii)
The ASMBS officially recognized obesity as a disease when it endorsed a 2008 position statement from The Obesity Society (TOS) declaring obesity a disease.(iii) Other organizations classifying obesity as a disease include the National Institutes of Health (1998), the Social Security Administration (1999), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2004), and the American Association for Clinical Endocrinology (2012), the organization that sponsored the A.M.A. resolution on obesity.
"I do believe we are at a tipping point. The scientific consensus that has been built around the disease of obesity and its treatment cannot be ignored," said John Morton, MD, ASMBS Secretary-Treasurer, Access Chair and Associate Professor of Surgery at Stanford University. "Now coverage policy must catch up to that consensus."
Keywords for this news article include: Obesity, Diabetes, Treatment, Legal Issues, Overnutrition, Diet and Nutrition, Nutrition Disorders, Operative Surgical Procedures, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery ASMBS, American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).
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