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Is Obesity Considered A Disease?

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Obesity is a serious medical issue that has multiple factors and requires attention. It isn’t as simple as carrying a little more weight. Obesity can have severe medical complications. It is also caused by psychological and genetic factors aside from physical ones. 

We are taking on the obesity issues through the eyes of medical experts by bringing you the statements from the medical community. Whether obesity should be considered a disease or not is an ongoing debate. While some consider it a disease, others disagree. Here is why;

Jeff Hong is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist RDN, Startup enthusiast, Blogger, and the chief product manager at Yanre Strength. According to Jeff…  

It is not a disease! It is a condition. Obesity in the medical field refers to the accumulation of fat to the extent that it may cause negative health effects. The BMI (body mass index) higher than 30.0 is the obese range. Obesity is not necessarily a disease, but it is the agent that causes a lot of diseases. I could name 500 types of diseases that are brought about by obesity. So, in my opinion, it is not necessarily a disease, but it brings millions of types of diseases, so people tend to think it is a disease. 

Shena Jaramillo is a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorders, peaceandnutrition.com. According to Shena…

Obesity is defined solely by assessing someone’s weight to height ratio. There are no other metabolic or physiological distinguishers used to classify obesity. By definition, a disease is a disorder of structure or function. We cannot classify obesity as a disease as it does not necessarily illustrate any disruption in-body function. 

For example, many obese individuals will be 100% metabolically and physically adept without any medical complications. 

Lisa Richards is a Nutritionist and Author of The Candida Diet. According to Lisa…

Obesity is a disease that can be a bit confusing when it comes to its definition and place in the medical world. At this point, obesity is considered a disease, regardless of its cause, because it places the individual at great risk of death due to the disease itself. There are also obesity-related diseases that are caused or exacerbated by obesity. 

While being overweight or obese is generally a concern for health, belly fat, in particular, poses a greater risk for heart health. Belly fat, known as central adiposity, is a form of fat where the waist to hip ratio is larger.

Studies have shown that women and men with belly fat have a greater risk for heart disease. This fact is also true regardless of the individual’s body mass index (BMI). Even those with a normal BMI but who carry a spare tire in their midsection have a greater risk for heart attack and heart disease. 

This particular form of fat can be difficult to lose as it is often found in and around abdominal organs. It can also be difficult to target this area in exercise. The best approach to reducing belly fat for improved health is to take part in moderate exercise while also integrating a balanced diet low in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates. 

Claudia Hleap is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition and the Owner of Hleap Nutrition, a nutrition practice in Philadelphia. She has many years of experience providing nutrition counseling for diabetes and weight management. According to Claudia…

Obesity is serious comorbidity and predictor for many established diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. While obesity in itself is not a disease, it should be treated as such. 

It is a common condition that determines one’s overall risk of death and developing serious diseases and conditions that may cause a person to take multiple medications, incur higher healthcare expenses, and may cause a reduced quality of life. 

Dr. Boyer is a practicing Doctor of medicine with a focus on medical research at the Farr Institute. According to Dr. Boyer…

A disease is anything harmful to the body that interferes with its normal structure and functions. Obesity is a disease because it is a result of fat deposits in the body. Fats normally accumulate in some noticeable parts of the body, like in your tummy, which messes up your body shape and structure. 

In addition, obesity is a risk factor of several health-related conditions that affect body organs like the heart, liver, kidney and also lead to high blood pressure that affects normal body functions.

Dr. Reyzan Shali is a board-certified internal medicine and primary care physician. According to Dr. Reyzan…

As a family doctor for multiple decades, I consider obesity a disease. My opinion is based primarily on three criteria. First, obesity is a condition that negatively affects the functions of a body part or even the entire human body. Second, obesity is not caused by an external injury; rather, it is caused by our dietary and lifestyle choices. Third, obesity is correlated with chronic health conditions. 

Many times, the first plan of action, whether it is to treat Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or obstructive sleep apnea, is to encourage my patients to lose weight. Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to treat and sometimes even reverse these conditions.