Why Obesity is Considered a Disease?

In 2013, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and The Obesity Society declared obesity a disease. They also stated that medical professionals should take a more active stance in treating patients who are obese, offering them ways to lose weight and return to a healthy state of being.

Though it was only recently declared a disease, obesity has been an epidemic that has plagued American’s of all ages for years. In fact, research suggests that obesity started to become an epidemic among children as early as the 1990s.

So, if obesity has been a problem in the United States for some time, why has it only recently been declared a disease, and why has it been declared a disease at all? Here’s a more in-depth look.

Why is Obesity Considered a Disease?

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that excessive weight isn’t good for your health; however, there are a lot of things that aren’t good for your health that isn’t considered diseases – so why is obesity?

Research and studies have found that obesity leads to several medical issues that have the potential to become life-threatening. These medical issues include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Increased risk of breast, colon and endometrial cancers
  • Liver disease
  • Hypertension
  • Lower HDL levels (the good cholesterol)
  • Sleep apnea
  • Metabolic syndrome

There are also several non-life threatening issues that are associated with obesity, including:

  • Infertility
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Osteoarthritis

In addition, obesity is a risk factor for developing diabetes.

Given the medical issues that obesity can cause, you may be wondering why it was only recently declared a disease. While it has long been known that obesity causes health issues, it wasn’t until recently that researchers found the significant health risks that are associated with the disease.

Likewise, it has been found that there are certain medical patterns that are linked to obesity, including hormonal imbalances and neurotransmitter deficiencies, and these discoveries have also only been made recently.

Treatment for Obesity

Individuals who are struggling with obesity should seek the help of a medical professional and/or visit a weight loss clinic. Starting with a visit to a primary health care provider is the first step toward treatment. From there, a weight loss plan can be determined, which may include a specific diet and exercise program, or it may include weight loss treatment through bariatric surgery performed by a laparoscopic doctor.