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Obesity is Declared a Disease by the American Medical Association yet Americans are Living Longer
Date:7/30/2013

he nation as a whole. This amount averages to $500 to $600 per American, and it takes into account both direct costs associated with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and indirect costs of obesity such as loss of workplace productivity.

About one third – approximately 100 million Americans – are considered obese. This number is spread fairly evenly across all age groups. While obesity among adults is a serious concern because of the strain it places on American health care resources and economic productivity, many observers believe childhood obesity is even more serious a problem. Although the obesity rate among US children is lower than the adult obesity rate, the gap appears to be closing and there is fear that today’s obese children will develop obesity-related complications at a younger age than earlier generations of obese Americans did.

Obesity treatment for Americans of all ages is often hindered by the view that obesity is the result of choices and not any inherent physical causes. Medical students normally receive little training in obesity, and doctor advice to obese patients often consists of little more than the generic instruction to exercise and eat right. The minimal time a physician spends with a patient during a typical doctor visit does not lend itself to any insightful understanding of what an obese patient may really require, or even all the symptoms he or she may be suffering. The instruction to eat right and exercise is usually sound—whether a patient is obese or not—but it often falls short.

Elderly Americans can face additional challenges when it comes to treating obesity. Any obesity treatment for older Americans has to weigh the possible benefits of treatment agai
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