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Arguments For Calling Obesity A Disease #5: Access To Care



sharma-obesity-doctor-kidContinuing in my miniseries on arguments in favour of calling obesity (defined as excess or abnormal fat tissue that impairs health) a disease, I turn to the perhaps most important reason of all – access to care.

Currently, few health care systems feel obliged to provide individuals presenting with obesity treatment for their condition (beyond a few words of caution and simplistic advise to simply eat less and move more).

Most health plans do not cover treatments for obesity, arguing that this is simply a lifestyle issue.

In some countries (e.g. Germany), health insurance and health benefit plans are expressly forbidden by law to cover medical treatments for obesity.

Although long established as the only evidence-based effective long-term treatment for severe obesity, many jurisdictions continue to woefully underprovide access to bariatric surgery, with currently less than 4 out of 1,000 eligible patients receiving surgery per year in Canada.

Pretty much all of this can be blamed on one issue alone – the notion that obesity is simply a matter or personal choice and can be remediated by simple lifestyle change.

Declaring obesity a disease can potentially change all of this.

As a disease in its own right, health care systems can no longer refuse to provide treatments for this condition.

In the same manner that no health system or insurance plan can refuse to cover treatments for diabetes or hypertension, no health system or insurance plan should be able to deny coverage for treatments for obesity.

As a chronic disease, obesity care must now be firmly integrated into chronic disease management programs, in the same manner that these programs provide services to patients with other chronic diseases.

How long will it take before this becomes accepted practice and funding for obesity treatments rises to the level of funding currently available for treating other chronic diseases?

That, is anyone’s guess, but no doubt, declaring obesity a disease finally puts patients living with this condition on an equal footing with patients living with any other chronic disease.

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

1 Comment

  1. This is our world’s number one, three and four killers, responsible for over 73% related deaths by 2020.
    It’s not impossible to cure, in fact, as soon as my lean start-up, Envision Nutrition INC., secures the right partner, one for transparency, moderation, education and changes needed in legislation, our brands will not only scratch the surface, but make impossible, possible.
    The day is nearing. Partners I am interested in is Koch, based out of Wichita, I personally know and served them for 20 years, Liz still to this day cuts Charles hair (adorable and frugle, which says much as to everything else they said for), Prada, well because for more reasons then the devil wearing prada, that through the belt of truth and faith, unity, love and equality of all before me and even the younger generations had their part in this breakthrough discovery! Coca-Cola because of their corporate responsibility and a gentleman on my bucket list to meet by the name of, Bachir Zeroual, and his background that specifically intrigues me, Eminem for overcoming adversity, his mentor Dr.Dre, because, well he made Eminem, genius producer, Apple, Tesla, Gm because of iconic and classic Corvette and many others. What I wouldn’t give to speak to Steve Jobs right now.
    This proves the world keeps on spinning and our time is limited. I can not wait any longer, I have been making moves, but today, I feel like closing a deal and really moving the world closer to healthy, myself included. It has been a lifetime in the making and why not today!
    Jason Fisher
    Envision Nutrition INC., Founder 316.347.4122

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