Regarding Obesity as a Disease: Evolving Policies and Their Implications

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2016 Sep;45(3):511-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2016.04.004.


In 2013, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a complex, chronic disease requiring medical attention. Defining obesity as a disease is a very public process, largely driven by expectation of costs and benefits. Although the public has been slow to embrace this definition, evidence is emerging for broader awareness of influencing factors beyond personal choice. This decision seems to be working with other factors to bring more access to care, less blame for people with the condition, and more favorable conditions for research to identify effective strategies for prevention and clinical care to reduce the impact.

Keywords: Access to health care; Chronic disease; Health care economics and organizations; Health policy; Medicalization; Obesity; Social stigma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / classification*
  • Obesity / therapy