Doctors group recognizes obesity as disease - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Doctors group recognizes obesity as disease

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NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. -

Dana Neeman has lost 100 pounds after weight loss surgery and wants to lose another 100.

"I've been overweight my entire life I've always joked I was born overweight. I was born 10 lbs., 4 oz.," Neeman said.

Obesity affects one out of every three American adults.

Now, the American Medical Association is recognizing obesity as a disease. The new distinction could lead to new interventions and preventive measures.

"Now with the AMA decision, insurance companies will cover weight loss surgery, maybe insurance companies start covering nutritionists, counseling and medical weight loss programs," said Dr. Shawn Garber, the director of the New York Bariatric Group.

A person's Body Mass Index is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI score of 30 and more is considered obese.

Obesity is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. Yet not everyone thinks it should be classified as a disease.

"You are not taking personal responsibility if you have a disease," said Steve Abrams of California. "You gonna look elsewhere for someone to fix the problem or are you going to take some personal responsibility and eat less."

But Dana Neeman says the new distinction is the right one.

"Obviously it's not all a lifestyle if I've tried and tried and tried to lose weight and was unsuccessful, you know. There's something predisposed inside of me genetically that obviously plays a part," Neeman said.

She hopes the new classification with help obese people stop feeling like outcasts and start changing their lives.

The medical costs of obesity in the U.S. states total about $150 billion annually.

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