Is Obesity a Disease?

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Doctors deal with obesity and its consequences every day. It's an increasing concern for individual patients and as a matter of public health for the entire population.

This week, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease. According to a statement by Dr. Patrice Harris, a member of the association’s board, “Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans.”

But not all physicians agree on whether this new categorization makes sense.

Dr. Stephen Cook is a pediatrician and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. He is in favor the AMA classifying obesity as a disease.

But Dr. Davis Liu is a practicing, board certified family physician and author of the book “The Thrifty Patient: Vital Insider Tips for Saving Money and Staying Healthy.” He is opposed to the AMA classifying obesity as a disease.

Doctors Cook and Liu join us today to discuss how useful this disease designation is, and whether the change is simplifying a complicated problem.