Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby gavrilushka » 18 May 2014, 13:45

Nam wrote:Personally, I do not think that obesity should be classed as a disease, Just like many other 'diseases' such as alcoholism, drug addiction, anorexia etc etc

I actually had anorexia and can verify that it IS a disease. I mean not in the same vein as leprosy, but it's a mental disease. I don't know how to explain it but essentially the only thing on your mind is how 'fat' you are that you begin hallucinating and actually see yourself as being overweight. In the end, it has the highest mortality rate of any mental disease.

Anyway, on obesity as a disease, we have talked about this in my health psychology class. It's not so much that obesity quite literally is a disease, but it's more about instilling a fear factor so that people wake up and realise it really isn't healthy which is the same reason anorexia is labelled a disease. Somehow we treat anorexics with a lot of hate and that it is 'the worst' possible eating related disorder. It could be, but being obese certainly gets you closer to an over-eating version of anorexia.
There is a disorder called binge-eating disorder which I believe does encompass certain obesity related characteristics. It's just that obesity has become so 'normal' in our society, so talked about that it's almost turned into a non-issue. Especially with all of those 'love your curves' people who while are well meaning are sometimes going about it the wrong way. I've certainly met the brunt of 'skinny shaming' quite a lot by women who can't see their own toes who go on to say how 'large and lovely' they are and that real men love curves. While it's great to be positive I think a lot of people suffer from cognitive dissonance from being too large, yet it's perfectly fine to say being too thin is unhealthy and unnatural.

If calling obesity a disease will help people realise that it's unhealthy, then I guess we have to. But I'll be expecting pitchforks just like when they lumped in Aspergers with autism because they are the same freaking thing, yet some people felt they should be separate due to it being offensive to be labelled autistic. :facepalm:
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby xyz72 » 18 May 2014, 14:18

gavrilushka wrote:Anyway, on obesity as a disease, we have talked about this in my health psychology class. It's not so much that obesity quite literally is a disease, but it's more about instilling a fear factor so that people wake up and realise it really isn't healthy which is the same reason anorexia is labelled a disease.
If calling obesity a disease will help people realise that it's unhealthy, then I guess we have to.

The problem is that the opposite is happening, people see it's a "disease" and assume there is nothing they can do about it. Calling something a disease makes people less likely to actively work on it because the term, to many people, implies that it has to be treated medically and happens without their direct influence.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby Frigid » 18 May 2014, 14:37

The word used has no real world effect and I really don't see why it's meriting such intense discussion. People won't be any more discouraged from eating more calories than they use just because their condition is relabelled; just as most people who are obese don't, can't, or won't change their eating and exercise habits because they develop other diseases due to their excess body fat and uncontrolled sugar intake. If anything it only gives people another excuse to distance themselves from their problem.

What I think should be discussed is how is this programme actually going to work in terms of service provision. Where is the funding coming from? Such a programme will require immense amounts of funding that wouldn't see a return in investment for years, if not decades. Where will the staff come from? It will require many more services being commissioned to handle the volume of obese people put on weight loss programmes. How effective will it be in terms of cost and health? How likely are people to lose weight and have the proper mental tools to keep to a healthy lifestyle? What's the relapse rate likely to be? How long will the programme run for? A lot of funded initiatives only last for 12-36 months with changes per year made. How will it be measured? How thorough will the measurement be? How will the government support the limitation of profit making industries that rely on unhealthy lifestyles?
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby gavrilushka » 18 May 2014, 16:05

xyz72 wrote:
gavrilushka wrote:Anyway, on obesity as a disease, we have talked about this in my health psychology class. It's not so much that obesity quite literally is a disease, but it's more about instilling a fear factor so that people wake up and realise it really isn't healthy which is the same reason anorexia is labelled a disease.
If calling obesity a disease will help people realise that it's unhealthy, then I guess we have to.

The problem is that the opposite is happening, people see it's a "disease" and assume there is nothing they can do about it. Calling something a disease makes people less likely to actively work on it because the term, to many people, implies that it has to be treated medically and happens without their direct influence.

That certainly can be a problem and is a topic of debate which is why countless studies are being run. My professor is one of those people looking at stigma and labelling and how that affects eating behaviour. He talks a little about stigma here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDkAo6VOEjQ

The relabelling is basically politically motivated by health advocate groups. Labels do have a powerful effect. It's why men who have depression are less likely to seek help than say women. The other problem with labels is that it can create a sub-culture of people who are proud of being a particular disease. I don't think labelling obesity as a disease will have a profound effect outside of making them annoyed at the label as opposed to doing something about it, but there are certain things that can help obese people if it is called a disease. They can receive potentially more affordable medical help because of the 'disease' status, the social responses may change from being negative towards obesity to being more empathetic. Maybe things like lap-band or healthy eating courses can be subsidised more easily. In the social eye, rather than them receiving gov. help because 'they're just fat' it turns to because 'they have a chronic disease'.
There are pros and cons to labelling and I think labelling it as a disease could ease some social tension and allow for political moves that can help these people with a 'justified scientific cause' beyond them just being fat and lazy people. I'm not saying they are. I know that losing weight is very difficult as I did the opposite and when you are in the frame of mind that it's impossible you believe it is. I honestly think that if there are programs funded by the government or non-profit organisations for the underweight, then there definitely needs to be for the obese. The problem about it is the stigma that underweight people are at higher risk of complications and death than obese people making such programs for obese people highly criticised and unsupported, and also that there is a larger portion of obese than underweight making the costs much higher.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby Brenden » 18 May 2014, 21:04

Momentous wrote:
Brenden wrote:I don't care whether it's called a disease or not. Are you conflating my posts with others'? Because if that's the impression you have of my position, then I can only conclude that you have serious reading comprehension issues.

Regardless, you are repeating yourself, blind to previous criticism.

It seems like you do. But yes, I'm clearly far too stupid to comprehend your position.

Also your criticism is medically unfounded, so once again, forgive me for not taking you seriously.

Now, it's you saying shit like this that makes me think you haven't been reading my posts, like this one:
Brenden wrote:Genes Are Not Destiny
Harvard School of Public Health wrote:What’s increasingly clear from these early findings is that genetic factors identified so far make only a small contribution to obesity risk—and that our genes are not our destiny: Many people who carry these so-called “obesity genes” do not become overweight, and healthy lifestyles can counteract these genetic effects. This article briefly outlines the contributions of genes and gene–environment interactions to the development of obesity.

You are the one putting forth medically unfounded claims.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby Momentous » 19 May 2014, 05:49

Brenden wrote:Now, it's you saying shit like this that makes me think you haven't been reading my posts, like this one:

You are the one putting forth medically unfounded claims.


You're not understanding what I'm saying. Obesity can be lessened via lifestyle, but often that's very inefficient, and in many cases with older patients, implausible. If you'd like to argue some more with internet links, please take it up with my university, I'm getting bored of explaining medical practice. Thanks.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby xyz72 » 19 May 2014, 08:22

Brenden, you better stop right now, he's going to university!
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby Momentous » 19 May 2014, 08:25

xyz72 wrote:Brenden, you better stop right now, he's going to university!


I didn't mean that in an "I'm better than you" way, but this is the material we're taught in detail. It's directly related to how we practise.

I have compared obesity to plenty of other diseases which it shares similar elements to, and yet I'm not taken seriously because I'm going against a popular opinion. Fine, you're all more informed than I am.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby gavrilushka » 19 May 2014, 09:23

Momentous wrote:
xyz72 wrote:Brenden, you better stop right now, he's going to university!


I didn't mean that in an "I'm better than you" way, but this is the material we're taught in detail. It's directly related to how we practise.

I have compared obesity to plenty of other diseases which it shares similar elements to, and yet I'm not taken seriously because I'm going against a popular opinion. Fine, you're all more informed than I am.
I understand where you are getting at, but I think you're looking at it from the wrong angle. Obesity isn't a specific gene and it's not genetic in the same way that Huntington's disease is. Obesity is attributed by a cluster of genes related to eating as well as psychological conditions. A person may have a gene that increases the likelihood of depression and they may also have a gene which involves overeating - this may produce an individual who, if depressed, may become obese as each of these genes bounce off one another. However if the gene related to overeating is recessive or non-existent, obesity may not occur if suffering from depression. But then there are other genes related to digestion attributed by racial background - Asian people eat a lot of rice and fatty fish like tuna and salmon and are always stick thin, yet in Western countries we are told to avoid eating rice and fatty fish as they make you larger. Could just be that genetically Asians are more capable in digesting these foods. Just assuming.

Genes are the most powerful predictors of how someone will turn out and are more powerful than environment so raising a child in a pro-health environment who has the genetics towards diabetes, high cholesterol and slow metabolism may not result in a child who is not obese. However, that doesn't mean that having these genes are a 100% guarantee you will suffer from obesity as the cluster of genes may manifest into something else. We also need to consider if these genes are recessive or dominant. It's why if you ever get a DNA analysis done it shows you the percentage/chance of exhibiting certain traits and disorders.

I think labelling obesity as a disease is a bit of a stretch. It's genetics are a bit iffy and depend on a whole cluster being inherited as opposed to a single gene. I think everyone is forgetting that the word 'disorder' does exist and that's what obesity will fall under. Calling it a disease is really quite a stretch as, unlike say anorexia, it does not result into the complete degradation of the mind and being obese isn't something they depend on. It's a burden they all want to get rid of, but it's a poor coping strategy they turn to when the going gets tough. Similar to how depressed people self-harm.

For classifying disorders:
- needs to be statistically infrequent (limitations: not all statistically infrequent things are bad such as giftedness/talent)
- violate social norms
- cause the person distress (limitations: some mental disorders like mania do not cause the individual distress, but cause people around them distress)
- cause impairment (socially, emotionally, physically, occupationally etc) – (limitation: savant’s syndrome – high functioning people with autism)

You can argue that obesity is a disorder when we look at countries like Japan since it's statistically infrequent and it does violate social norms. But looking at Western countries...not really. It's quite common. If I remember correctly the US obesity rate is around 65% and it's quite normal to see larger people. I'm neither for nor against the labelling.

Also, it might be good to know that the most reliable classification system for diseases and disorders, the ICD-10 which is observed by the WHO does list obesity as a disease:
http://www.icd10data.com/ICD10CM/Codes/ ... 5-E68/E66-

It's also worth noting that the ICD-10 has been in effect since the early 1990s and used in over 100 countries so labelling obesity as a disease isn't new. In fact, this topic is 20 years too late.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby CuriousPhoenix » 18 September 2014, 02:50

I am fat, plain and simple. I have tried to lose weight and was successful then gained it back. Obesity is a very complicated topic. There are many reasons why people are obese. Some of the factors are genetic, which the person cannot change. Another factor that cannot be controlled are eating habits they pick while they are kids. If you see your elders eat anything and are fat, you'll grow up thinking that is fine and pick up those same eating habits that are going to plague them the rest of their lives.

My whole family was/is fat. I learned to eat from my parents and grandparents. I have tried and am trying to change my eating habits but it is extremely difficult. To me eating food and feeling full make me feel happy and it is difficult to overcome that feeling.

I would be okay for them to label obesity as a disease, hopefully it will make it easier for people like me who want to be healthier get healthier. Maybe it will help us get the help that we need to get healthy such as nutritionists and memberships to gyms.
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby Brenden » 18 September 2014, 11:41

CuriousPhoenix wrote:Another factor that cannot be controlled are eating habits they pick while they are kids. If you see your elders eat anything and are fat, you'll grow up thinking that is fine and pick up those same eating habits that are going to plague them the rest of their lives.

Sorry, but this is just bullshit. Eating habits can be changed and controlled.

CuriousPhoenix wrote:My whole family was/is fat. I learned to eat from my parents and grandparents. I have tried and am trying to change my eating habits but it is extremely difficult.

Difficult but not impossible.

CuriousPhoenix wrote:To me eating food and feeling full make me feel happy and it is difficult to overcome that feeling.

I would suggest you eat things that are naturally filling and nutritious. Whole fibrous vegetables and fruit, whole-fat dairy products (without added sugar), unprocessed proteins cooked in healthy ways (grilled chicken, pan-seared steak, homemade burger, etc.), and wholegrain carbohydrates in moderation. All these things naturally make you feel full and are quite satisfying while being full of nutrients.

CuriousPhoenix wrote:I would be okay for them to label obesity as a disease, hopefully it will make it easier for people like me who want to be healthier get healthier. Maybe it will help us get the help that we need to get healthy such as nutritionists and memberships to gyms.

Be your own nutritionist and read the recent research. Get a gym membership. It sounds like you want these things to be handed to you on a silver platter.



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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby swoh24au » 18 September 2014, 21:34

First of all, anorexia is more of a disorder, and not a disease. A disorder is an abnormal mental or physical condition. A disease is a condtion in which the body is impaired or weakened when performing normal vital functions.
With my genomics, nutrition, and biochem background, I think obesity type 1 & 2 are diseases because:
1) Gene mutations for diabetes can be inherited from parents who are diabetic, or are carriers for such mutations.
2) Even if you don't inherit said mutation, or you aren't fat as a ship, the environment can alter the way your genes are expressed. Ex: Prisoners of War who have been starved for long periods of time often develop type 2 diabetes. (It's too long to explain, but it deals with gluconeogenesis and the Cori cycle.)
3) Leptin is a hormone in your fat that tells your brain how much fat is stored in the body. However, obese people have a high concentration of leptin in their blood. Many hypothesize that receptors for this hormone have been damaged; thus, even though they can physicaly see the fat on your body, they literally don't have the mental capacity to know you are overeating because their brain thinks the body is low on fat storage.
4) Adding to number 3, because your mind thinks you don't have enough body fat it tries to prevent you from losing weight. This is one of the main reasons obese people have a hard time being motivated and physically active.

P.S. I'm a pharmacy student
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Re: Obesity Is Now Labeled As A Disease

Unread postby René » 18 September 2014, 21:47

swoh24au wrote:First of all, anorexia is more of a disorder, and not a disease. A disorder is an abnormal mental or physical condition. A disease is a condtion in which the body is impaired or weakened when performing normal vital functions.
With my genomics, nutrition, and biochem background, I think obesity type 1 & 2 are diseases because:
1) Gene mutations for diabetes can be inherited from parents who are diabetic, or are carriers for such mutations.
2) Even if you don't inherit said mutation, or you aren't fat as a ship, the environment can alter the way your genes are expressed. Ex: Prisoners of War who have been starved for long periods of time often develop type 2 diabetes. (It's too long to explain, but it deals with gluconeogenesis and the Cori cycle.)
3) Leptin is a hormone in your fat that tells your brain how much fat is stored in the body. However, obese people have a high concentration of leptin in their blood. Many hypothesize that receptors for this hormone have been damaged; thus, even though they can physicaly see the fat on your body, they literally don't have the mental capacity to know you are overeating because their brain thinks the body is low on fat storage.
4) Adding to number 3, because your mind thinks you don't have enough body fat it tries to prevent you from losing weight. This is one of the main reasons obese people have a hard time being motivated and physically active.

P.S. I'm a pharmacy student

I imagine it also has something to do with all the sugar being artificially added to foods, leading to large releases of insulin, and the fact that people are encouraged to eat reduced-fat versions of food with added sugar that don't actually make you feel full while being far more unhealthy.

It is worth noting that people who were subjected to "insulin shock therapy" back in the day invariably became grossly obese, despite spending some time in an induced coma daily (during which they obviously weren't eating anything), and that today's constant sugar intake has a similar (though more spread-out) effect on both insulin levels and obesity.

People who adhere to low-carbohydrate diets instead of low-fat diets tend to feel fuller with fewer calories, and have healthier lipid profiles, less atherosclerotic disease, lower body weight, and better body composition (more muscle instead of body fat).
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