Obesity: It's Not a Disease, but It's Still a Huge ProblemFriday, July 26, 2013
Dr. Charles Burant, director of the University of Michigan Metabolomics and Obesity Center, on American Medical Association’s decision to designate obesity as a disease:
“It’s clear that obesity leads to other diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, dyslipidemia, and increased risk of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and infertility. But in and of itself, I don’t believe that obesity is an abnormal condition. It’s just a condition that’s developed in our environment.
“There was no selection against being obese during prior eons of evolution, because nobody got obese; we were never before in an environment with a surplus of highly palatable things to eat.
"In our environment today, not only is food more plentiful than for our ancestors, but there are all types of foods that have been engineered to get us to crave more.
“If calling obesity a disease brings more research funding, to understand the ways we might intervene to decrease the consumptive behavior in our environment or to change our environment, then it may not be bad, but I don’t think it’s accurate to call obesity a disease.”