Food for thought: Obesity as a disease?

healthy living waterfall  We’ve all heard it.  Infomercials touting the latest gadget to prepare healthier food, to campaigns in communities to fight the “obesity epidemic. ”  You can’t escape.  Obesity is public enemy number one.

As a renal nurse, I am well acquainted with how most of the dialysis population found their way to their present circumstance.  In short–diabetes and hypertension, and usually a combination thereof.  I’ve seen patients (at times in less than a year) go from losing a toe, to a foot, and eventually become a BKA (below the knee amputee).  So now, they contend with the complications of renal failure, AND face life without use of a limb.

For this reason and many others, I traded my uniform for workout gear.

A major part of nursing is education, as well as preventative care.  I have worked as a dialysis educator, classroom instructor, and now I see myself in the preventative arena.  It may not be the way most of my colleagues see prevention.  But we all play on the same team; just with different approaches.

Every type of disease wreaks havoc in its own way.  However, I wonder how obesity fits in.  Yes, it has far-reaching implications–but does it really fit the description of a disease?  Maybe.  Though I have a few questions.  How would this classification work anyway?  Do we assign stages to it–like renal failure or cancer?  How would insurance companies handle this?  Would they? Should it be considered a pre-existing condition if you begin/change insurance?  Will there be specialists in this field?  Treatment and patient compliance face dilemmas all their own on this one.

Take a look at “Why Branding Obesity as a Disease is a step in the WRONG direction.”  The article is dated July 6, 2013.   It has interesting perspectives on who benefits by calling this weighty issue a disease.

In the meantime, consider who benefits by regular exercise, proper nutrition, and a reform in habit.  I can give you one hint–it’s not those who would benefit from calling obesity a disease.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

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