Classifying obesity as medical condition alters treatments, perceptions

Jun 18, 2014

Former Governor Tommy Thompson says that treating obesity as a disease can better treat patients and reduce healthcare costs.
Credit Flickr - Paola Kizette Cimenti

One year ago today, the American Medical Association made news when it said that obesity should be considered a ‘disease.’

Many obesity experts have welcomed the re-designation. They say it will help more people get medical attention and treatment for the serious health problems overweight and obese people contract. However, the move has generated skepticism as well. Doubters say that “medicalizing” obesity could lead too many people to drugs and surgery and away from critical lifestyle changes.

Tommy Thompson, a supporter of this move, served 14 years as the Governor of Wisconsin and as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration. He visits Lansing today in his current role as the independent chair of the Deloitte Center for Health Care Management and Transformation.