TOS Applauds AMA for Recognizing Obesity as a Disease

The Obesity Society Applauds the American Medical Association for Recognizing Obesity as a Disease

New AMA Policy Aligns with the Science Behind Obesity Treatment & Prevention - June 2013



Theodore Kyle

Advocacy Chair, The Obesity Society

The passage of a new American Medical Association policy classifying obesity as a disease reinforces the science behind obesity prevention and treatment. The Obesity Society (TOS) applauds the AMA’s House of Delegates, and its member physicians, for taking this active step to help improve the lives of those affected by obesity across the U.S. and abroad.

TOS has long-recognized obesity as a disease and encouraged this classification. Along with other groups, the Society, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognized obesity as a complex chronic disease in the guidelines first issued in 1998. Obesity is a complex condition with numerous causes, many of which are largely beyond an individual’s control. The disease is a driver of much suffering, ill health and earlier mortality, and people affected are too often subject to enormous societal stigma and discrimination. This vital recognition of obesity as a disease can help to ensure more resources are dedicated to needed research, prevention and treatment; encourage healthcare professionals to recognize obesity treatment as a needed and respected vocation; and, reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by the millions affected.

The AMA joins a number of leading organizations that have previously made this classification, including the National Institutes of Health (1998), the Social Security Administration (1999), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (2004), The Obesity Society (2008) and the American Association for Clinical Endocrinology (2012).

To support the treatment of obesity as a disease, The Obesity Society launched the Treat Obesity Seriously campaign in May 2013 to provide resources and information to clinicians and policymakers to help those affected.

For more information about obesity as a disease, see:

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About The Obesity Society (TOS)

TOS is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. TOS is committed to encouraging research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity as well as to keeping the scientific community and public informed of new advances in the field. For more information please visit:


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