I work out for over two hours a day. I eat "cleaner" than 99 percent of the people you know. I have not put any artificial ingredients in my body for over a year and have less than 15 percent body fat. But I have obesity. I will always have obesity. It is a disease I live with every day.
If we work to spread that message beyond our clinics to schools, homes, and the workplace, we will be that much closer to getting chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes under control and to helping New Yorkers live fuller and healthier lives.
Obesity has been called many things -- an epidemic, a major public health problem, an urgent chronic condition -- but is it a disease? The American Medical Association, the largest physician organization in the nation, has decided that it is.
By branding it as a disease, are we running the risk of attaching new negatives to already struggling individuals? That is yet to be seen, as is what impact the AMA's proclamation might actually have on the fight to end obesity.
There is a certain irony in the nearly immediate juxtaposition of the rare introduction of a new FDA-approved drug for weight loss (Belviq) to the marketplace and the recognition of obesity as a "disease" by the AMA. A line from the movie Jerry Maguire comes to mind: "You complete me!"
Victimizing obesity as a disease is dangerous territory, and from my perspective just feels like another excuse for pharmaceutical companies to make money. Why would anyone choose diet and exercise over a magic pill? I certainly wouldn't.