AMA Calls For Better Access To Obesity Treatments

American-Medical-Association-logoOn the anniversary of the American Medical Association (AMA) “recognising” obesity as a disease, the AMA delegation yesterday passed a resolution on “Patient Access to Evidence-Based Obesity Services”, which gives the AMA decisive direction to support advocacy efforts to improve patient access to all evidence-based obesity treatments.

These treatments for obesity range from bariatric surgery and obesity drugs to intensive lifestyle interventions and nutrition counseling.

Regular readers will recall my previous posts on the various US organisations that are now not only viewing obesity as a chronic disease but are also demanding better access to obesity treatments for people with this condition.

This decision is widely applauded by other organisations including The Obesity Society and the American Society of Bariatric Physicians.

Hopefully, these efforts will go a long way towards reducing the bias and discrimination that people with obesity face in the healthcare system (and elsewhere) and help dispel the myth that all it takes to control your weight is a healthy dose of willpower.

Indeed, there is reason to believe that this AMA resolution will have significant implications for patients and the health care communityincluding:

  • improved training in obesity at medical schools and residency programs,
  • reduced stigma of obesity by the public and physicians,
  • improved insurance benefits for obesity-specific treatment, and
  • increased research funding for both prevention and treatment strategies.

Unfortunately, in Canada we have yet to see the Canadian Medical Association take a leadership role in this regard – hopefully, this is just a matter of time.

Edmonton, Alberta