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Active Voice: The AMA Says Obesity is a Disease; Now We Need to Inform Them How to Best Treat It

from By Robert Sallis, M.D.

Robert E. Sallis, M.D., FACSM, is a past president of ACSM and chair of the Exercise is Medicine Task Force. He originated the EIM concept and has been its leading advocate from the beginning. Dr. Sallis earned an M.D. from Texas A&M University and completed his residency in family medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana, CA. He has continued his medical career with Kaiser and now co-directs their sports medicine fellowship training program. Dr. Sallis is the founding editor-in-chief of ACSM's Current Sports Medicine Reports journal. Exercise Is Medicine was launched in partnership with the AMA, and continues to work with AMA to find solutions to the obesity epidemic.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect author opinions and not necessarily the positions or policies of ACSM
.

My first reaction to hearing that the AMA had voted to classify obesity as a disease last month was a positive one. That was until I heard the excited comments from those who will profit most from the increased use (and payment for) bariatric surgery and weight loss drugs. Right away these individuals and organizations began campaigns to gain more reimbursement for their treatments of this newfound disease. My concern is that pushing the same old overpriced treatments on patients is more likely to benefit the wallets of surgeon’s and pharmaceutical companies than the health of Americans. There must be a better way to deal with this newly labeled disease called obesity. more


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