The American Medical Association (AMA) recently declared that obese folks — that includes roughly 1/3 of Americans , or more specifically, 80 million adults and 15 million children — now have a “disease” that requires “treatment.”
If you’ve been reading my articles here for a while, I bet you can guess what my reaction to this… what a bunch of nonsense. There are so many problems with this decision that I don’t know where to start. Let’s make a list, shall we?
#1: If Obesity Is a “Disease,” Who’s Going to Treat It?
Dr. John Berardi raised this question in an article at Huffington Post. You can click here to read the full article, but in summary…
Obesity is connected to eating and exercise behavior, but problem with that: physicians aren’t equipped to help obese clients. According to Berardi, “…most medical school students receive less than 2 weeks of nutrition prescription and no direct coursework in exercise prescription.” (source)
Ever had a doctor tell you, “Just make sure you eat right and exercise?” I bet you’ve heard that a million times, right? No duh. If it were REALLY that simple, don’t you think we all would have figured this out by now? If a doctor tells you to “eat right and exercise,” that is all he knew to say because he knows nothing about it.
Okay, so if the doc isn’t gonna be much help with a nutrition or fitness plan, what CAN he do? That conveniently leads us to #2…
#2 This Is Obviously a Money Grab
Let’s be real, shall we? If a physician isn’t equipped to help an obese patient with their nutrition or exercise prescription, much less in the mindset and lifestyle coaching… what precisely CAN they do?
Survey Says: Write a prescription. America is addicted to pills to the thrill of Big Pharmacy, and you don’t have to look far for evidence:
- More than 10% of Americans are currently taking antidepressants.
- Antidepressants were only introduced in 1988 but their use has multiplied 400% since then.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently declared that 20% of American children have “mental disorders”… and they’re being “treated” with drugs that are sketchy at best.
- Americans spent $325.7 billion on prescription drugs last year.
… I could continue, but you get the point. And now, thanks to the AMA, we can look forward to more commercialized false promises of “quick-fixes” in the form of the magical diet pill. Awesome! (not).
#3 “Hey, If It’s Effective, I’m Fine With It!”
It’s not effective; far from it. Despite the fact that we spend more on healthcare than any other developed nation, we’re consistently ranked dead last in lifetime expectancy and infant mortality rates. And then we also must confront the fact that we have the sixth highest obesity rate in the world despite our efforts so far. And even if more pills *would* help you lose fat, I’m not convinced the potential side-effects would be worth it. What we’re doing isn’t working… can we please stop kidding ourselves now?
#4 It Is Just Plain Hurtful
If you happen to be one of the 80 million people who were just labeled “diseased,” how did that make you feel? Like shit, I bet. Women in this country are already under a whole lot of pressure. They are bombarded with images of models with unrealistic physiques that would be unachievable to the average woman, which does significant harm to body image. And now we are going to tell these women they have a disease? Hey, AMA: Screw off. They’re not diseased — they’re awesome, thank you very much.
What Is The Answer?
Obesity does not require “treatment,” and thus it is not a “disease.” I know I run the risk of someone leaving a comment saying “well according to the Websters Dictionary definition of disease it kinda is,” to which I’d like to go ahead and say: Think for yourself — just because it’s in the dictionary doesn’t mean it’s right.
The AMA cannot save you. Diet pills will not save you. The only person who can save you is yourself.
The first step to achieving true physical change is to find your desire or “Why.” Why do you want to be fit? There’s no right or wrong answer. It could be because you want to be a positive example to your kids; or it could be so you can feel more sexy and confident in your body; or it might just be because you want to look hot (I’m not here to judge!).
To obtain that which you desire, you must know what that thing is, and even more importantly… why you want it.
Just in Case You’re New….
If you’re new, I’d like to let know that this is only one of many articles I’ve written here. If you’re stoked and ready to begin a Grand Fitness Adventure in your own life, you’re welcome to check those out. I even made a list of them all in chronological order with all the links in one place: click here to dig in!
I also have a free e-mail course, the Mind + Body Make-Over, that’s perfect for anybody hoping to achieve meaningful and sustainable change (both physically and mentally!). Click here to enroll for your free course.