With the American Medical Association declaring obesity a disease, perhaps now our health care industry can truly get behind making our communities healthier.
The designation alone will not create change.
But it does create a significant shift in thinking, one that can advance a targeted discussion that can perhaps finally bring together the many disparate and fractured systems to tackle a major issue that affects quality and cost of care.
Dr. Suzanne Koven, in her "In Practice" blog on boston.com, said it well:
"The AMA has no specific authority to designate obesity as a disease, but it's decided to use its considerable influence to effect a cultural shift. The hope is, that if obesity is thought of as a disease, insurance companies will be more supportive of obese people, researchers will pursue the problem more aggressively, public health efforts to curb obesity will be strengthened, and individual clinicians ... will be better trained to address obesity with their patients."
It's time to move from talking about healthy communities to actually creating them. This step certainly helps.