The Medical Fitness Association Weighs in on the American Medical Association’s Assertion
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
medical dictionary defines disease as: "an identifiable group of signs and
symptoms and the presence of anatomical alterations.” Taken at face value, one
who is obese clearly meets medical criteria for Disease.
the medical community defines an obese individual as one who has a Body Mass
Index (BMI- a measurement of one’s weight relative to their height) of 30 or
more. The normal BMI range is 19-24.9,
overweight is 25-29.9. Your BMI can be calculated using the following formula:
the BMI is at best an approximation to define obesity, seeing it is hard to
miss. In the United States of America, nearly 100 million people are classified
as Overweight and/or Obese. The discussion as to whether the American Medical
Association correctly defines obesity as a disease fosters discussions both in
support and opposition. But is that really the issue? The important points to
consider are obesity’s impact:
psychosocially, medically, and
economically. The negative social stigma of being overweight is obvious.
Obesity is unto itself a "chronic” condition and it is also implicated as a
culprit in four other major chronic diseases: Cardiovascular, Diabetes,
Arthritis, and Cancer. These entities are responsible for over 80% of all
hospital admissions and greater than 75% of
our annual health care expenditure is implicated for the treatment of
these and other chronic diseases in the USA.
Our National health care expenditure now exceeds 2.5 trillion dollars
and the economic burden of such is nearly insurmountable.
The Medical Fitness
Association (MFA), a non-profit organization, formed in 1991, fully supports
the American Medical Association’s "awareness” campaign and commends its
leadership for bringing this issue into the forefront. It is the mission and vision of the MFA to
serve as a leader in the health care industry and to promote healthy living
through evidence based exercise and physical fitness. The Medical Fitness
Association provides industry standards, educational programs, benchmarks,
outcome measurements, professional development and networking opportunities for
the entire medical fitness industry. While it is clearly acknowledged that
obesity is not always directly associated with lack of exercise or fitness, and
that environmental and genetic factors can be implicated, it is well known and
supported in the literature that those who are physically fit are healthier.
obesity as a disease, the implications, interventions and lifestyle changes
necessary to combat this morbidity will likely be more accessible and readily
available. We are hopeful that much needed funding will become available for
research and development of new exercise paradigm’s, dietary interventions,
medication management and more advanced surgical options.
The Medical Fitness
Association will continue in partnership with the medical profession to promote
medically based fitness centers, to collaborate with the medical profession
optimizing physical fitness and healthy living and will serve as a certifying
body for the industry.
S. Gotlin, D.O.