About another adult in Germany is too heavy. And almost one in six is fat – with an index of body weight above 30. Are all these people sick?
Experts discuss this definition in the British magazine "The BMJ". Currently, in the United Kingdom, as well as in Germany, obesity is not considered a disease, but the subject in this country is not in the public debate.
In Portugal, obesity is a 15-year-old chronic disease. The American Medical Association AMA also classifies it from 2013.
In the current BMJ, John Wilding of the University of Liverpool, together with Vicki Mooney, president of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, argues that the British also officially consider obesity a disease in the future.
"No fault of the individual"
Their arguments: inheritance and the environment are crucial in determining whether someone is overweight, how fat is distributed throughout the body, and how high the risk of complications. More than 200 variants of genes that affect weight have been known. Many of these genes are involved in the regulation of hunger and satiety. "This is not the fault of an individual when he becomes overweight," they conclude.
They therefore consider this to be a completely false approach to the fact that people with overweight should be themselves responsible for weight loss. "If obesity is recognized as a chronic disease, it should help people with overweight be less stigmatized and discriminated," they write. It is anticipated that more patients would be involved in treatment if obesity was defined as a disease.
In "BMJ" you are opposed by general physician Richard Pile. It can not be imagined that the new definition would have positive effects. Even fat people, as soon as they hear the news, would not suddenly start to be enthusiastic about a quick walk. Health experts would still face the knowledge of the moment and shout: "It changes everything!" It says.
"I would use pharmaceutical companies"
Chains instead fear the possible negative consequences. If it seems that excessive body weight as a disease, as dictated by genetics, this could deprive disadvantaged people of the motivation to deal with it. It points out that the only beneficiaries are pharmaceutical companies and doctors who sell drugs or perform operations. So far, there are almost no medicines that can help people with overweight lose weight.
Wilding, which advocates recognition as a disease, mentions more than a dozen pharmaceutical companies in the public disclosure of BMJ about possible conflicts of interest, among which it received lectures. The chicken is involved in a company that wants to help people through coaching, among other things. However, due to these conflicts of interest, pro-party arguments should not be reversed.
You are struggling with overweight when fighting with infections
Indeed, the debate about whether overweight is considered to be a disease, even older. In 2017, for example, the magazine "The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology" published an editorial that requires overweight to be recognized as a disease. The text was based on the position of the World Federation of Obesity.
It has been said that social measures have been successfully pushed back by contagious diseases and sanitation improved hygiene. Similarly, an overweight epidemic must be eliminated by measures to combat its "pathogens": foods with high energy density and lack of movement. However, individuals can not solve it, but governments, health services, food producers and others should cooperate in this.
Finally, the solution is likely between the two situations – and whether overweight is defined as a disease or not, is not the most important issue. If more people do not become overweight or lose weight, both are necessary: social change and personal motivation.