Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Skinny on the AMA and Obesity

The American Medical Association has just announced that it has recognized obesity as a disease.

[Disclosure:  I am married to an obese physician, whose activities with the AMA have, over the years, declined from sparse to zero.].

There is no doubt that fat people are extremely predisposed to a wide range of illnesses and medical issues, that the ranks of the fatsos are growing (individually and collectively), and that it is a major public health issue.

Be that as it may, I'm not so sure that the AMA's latest action is such a great thing.  Changing labels does not, in and of itself, address the root causes of any problem, and what the AMA is doing is updating labels if not creating them.  And once the labels are in place and utilized by the population in general and the healthcare industry in particular, obese patients, having been labeled (synonym:  Stereotyped), will likely be subjected to treatment based upon the label and not based upon their individualized medical situation and lifestyle.

The insinuation of Obamacare into the healthcare equation (including the IRS) can only exacerbate the negative attributes of the foregoing dynamic.

What bothers me the most, however, is not whether obesity is or is not a disease, but rather, the political dynamic behind the whole thing.  Politics has usually done more harm than good to the delivery and efficacy of healthcare, whether in the prevention of administering the polio vaccine by the jihadis in Muslim countries, or the politicization of the AIDS/HIV epidemic.  And in that regard, the medical profession's politicoes have already shown that designation or nondesignation of a condition as a "disease" is based more upon political than health considerations when political correctness induced the declassification of homosexuality as a disease.

Whether a given person's weight, sexual preferences, or eating or drinking habits are or are not a disease is a red-herring issue.  The real issue here is the corruption of the healthcare delivery system, and the doctor-patient relationship, by political agendas, and the squelching of patient autonomy and informed consent.

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