Blog: Why Calling 'Obesity' a 'Disease' Is So Troubling

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Jerry Seinfeld does a bit during which he discusses topics that make people whisper. Cancer is one of them. "Did you hear about Bill? He has (whispering) cancer."

So, did you hear about one-third of Americans? They have (whisper) obesity.

The terminology that the American Medical Association has unleashed is significant. No longer is one-third of our population obese. They now "have" obesity. It just happened to them. They caught it, and now we are in the midst of the greatest epidemic in the history of mankind. And it's spreading.

Is there good that can come of the AMA's decision to define obesity as a disease? Of course. People tend to do what their doctors tell them, and if the doctor says, "Lose weight," then maybe more people will. What's ridiculous is that the medical community seemingly needs this push to take action because all they know how to do is treat disease, not prevent it.

So, maybe they will get on board now that obesity is in a nice pretty bow for them to understand. As one article noted, "Overall, excess weight, medical officials said, can lead to an array of medical troubles, including strokes, heart attacks, cardiovascular disorders, loss of sleep, shortness of breath, respiratory illnesses, and joint and bone problems."

We're glad you guys just figured this out. Well done.

But is it just us, or is this the final nail in the personal accountability coffin?

I don't eat too much; I have a disease. I need to supersize my meal, because I'm sick and can't help it. I don't hate exercise; I can't exercise because I have a disease.

The unintended consequences of the AMA's decision could be dramatic. We hope not, but we worry.

And we want to be the first to make this prediction: It won't be long before someone on an airplane or in a stadium refuses to sit next to an overweight person who doesn't quite fit into his or her seat. Some idiot will freak out because "that obese person is touching me and I don't want to catch what they have." You heard it here first.

There are real diseases in life, and many of them are caused by obesity. There are lots of people who are obese due to legitimate medical issues (thyroid conditions, for example). There also are people who are morbidly obese and might require medical treatment to address it. But let's be honest: The reason that one-third of the U.S. population is "obese" is because most of us are just "fat." We're not sick. We eat too much and we don't exercise enough. So, let's hope doctors have their prescription pads out and are ready to scribble "eat less, exercise more."

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