06/21/2013 09:44 am ET Updated Aug 21, 2013

American Medical Association Declares Obesity a Disease

There's no question that obesity is a problem in our country. That's an understatement. Obesity is an epidemic of massive proportion (pun intended).

For years there has been a long, drawn out debate as to whether or not obesity qualifies as a primary condition. Personally, I've always maintained that obesity is a multi-faceted condition that is far more complex than "just eat less and exercise more." There is sometimes a lack of understanding among fitness professionals surrounding the topic of obesity, particularly those who work with athletes or clients who are already fit. Perhaps this is because, on the surface, obesity is REALLY easy to fix. It actually IS "just eat less and exercise more."

Healthy diet and exercise are easy... but the hard part is reaching the point of readiness to change.

There are five stages of behavioral change between sitting on the couch with a bag of potato chips and running marathons: Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, and Maintenance. In order to change a patterned behavior, a few things needs to happen: The individual must believe that s/he is willing and ready for change combined with an environment that sets him/her up for success.

Our super-sized, overly-commericalized, artificially-sugar-ized society doesn't exactly facilitate this change. Readiness is the key, and rather than igniting a socio-cultural kick in the pants by looking at the way food is produced, sold, and marketed in our country, we choose instead to accept our fate and categorize obesity as a disease. With this declaration from the American Medical Association comes (assumedly) wheelchair accommodations for the obese and affordable access to insulin, bariatric surgery, and pharmaceuticals.

That's cool, but these are Band-Aids that treat symptoms rather that curing the cause.

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.

Would you?