When the American Medical Association deemed obesity a “disease” it may have done more harm than good. A new study suggests that calling obesity a disease tends to make certain people less likely to eat healthy or exercise. This data was the result of responses from 700 participants who took an online survey.
Participants were asked to answer a series of questions after reading an article regarding healthy eating and weight control. The study was divided into three groups. One group were given an article that referred to obesity as a disease. Another group were given a general health article while the third group read an article about how obesity is not a disease.
The study showed that overweight people that read about obesity being a disease were less concerned about the food they consumed or about exercise when compared to obese people that read the other two articles. Moreover, the same people that read about obesity being a disease also had a higher body satisfaction rate. This resulted in them making higher calorie food choices according to other studies performed at the University of Minnesota.
The study came just months after the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease. The researchers aim was to show the negative side-effects of treating obesity as a disease and they succeeded quite well at that. Researchers also said that greater acceptance for differing body sizes and less stigma for obese people are two of the more positive effects of the AMA decision. Of course, if less stigma leads an obese person to be less inclined to get healthy, one can make a valid argument against the assumption that this is a positive effect.
With obesity being a primary cause of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes there should be more focus on how to reverse the trend instead of deciding whether to call it a disease or not.
Our opinion is that obesity is a behavior problem since it results from unhealthy eating habits and should be treated as such. Since many behaviors, including eating, are driven in large part by emotions and since emotions controlled by the unconscious mind, hypnotherapy and neuro-linguistic programming are especially effective at helping the obese establish new eating and lifestyle habits so they can lose weight without drugs, surgery, fad diets or expensive prepackaged foods.