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2006-10-14 1:49 PM
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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?
shawn barr - 2006-10-14 9:52 AM

I'd like to know the context of how the question came up. So if obesity is a disease, how does it matter....if it is not a disease, then what does that mean. How does the answer to this question affect a person who is obese.

Hope that makes sense?

(OK...so I went back and read the first post. It was a hospital commercial; I understand the context. But, theoretically, I think my questions above make sense. Any thoughts?)



I think calling it a disease means:

1) Insurance may cover it
2) May take away some responsibility for it (which can be a good thing perhaps -- isn't one of the first steps to say you are powerless over it and therefore it frees you to get help?)
3) Makes it appear very serious. When I hear the word disease, I think of trouble. Condition sounds much tamer.

One of my issues was I was curious if obese people even liked being told that it was a disease.

It has ben Cedars-Sinai airing the commercials:
Cedars-Sinai's Weight Management Program provides a combination of education, group support, food management and exercise to reduce obesity. The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Cedars-Sinai offers minimally invasive surgical techniques to control eating and promote weight loss. These procedures are reversible, unlike older surgical weight-control procedures.




2006-10-14 1:55 PM
in reply to: #569101

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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?
Wookiee - 2006-10-14 1:01 PM


I love to hear the simple calories in < calories out hypothesis which is correct in its own way but ignores so much about individual physiology that it is naive in the extreme.


Most successful weight management programs, including the Weight Management Program at Cedars-Sinai, use a combination of physical activity and controlled eating to cause a deficit between calories eaten and calories burned.

http://www.csmc.edu/5218.html

Yes, bodies are different, but that is the equation. Some people just have better genetics than others and it is not as an issue. Others ahve to works on it every single day of their lives.

I have asked my wife about how her sister is obese since whenever I see her, she doesn't seem to eat anymore than the rest of us. She told me she was a closet eater. I feel so bad for her that she has to hide her eating from everyone. It isn't my place to say anything. She obviously knows, but doesn't have the power to do anything or doesn't want to face it perhaps.

Cheers


2006-10-14 2:04 PM
in reply to: #568740

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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?

Re: closet eating......  My brother, sister and I all grew up in the same household, each three years apart.  Now, many years later, we have learned that each of us will wait until our spouses go to bed to eat our "dessert", usually ice cream (well, I used to eat it, except now on race day, but I no longerwait )

None of us exhibited that behavior to the other growing up.  But we all feel the need to hide it, as if it is shameful, or maybe it's something we're keeping all to ourselves.  it's a pretty complicated issue.

BTW, weight is one of the few physical characteristics that is not "taboo" to discriminate against or comment upon, because those without weight problems assume (as a generalization) that the cause is purely the person's doing.  It's not always.  that is one reason it's a touchy subject....

OK, time to go pick up Hermosa race packet, rode the course this morning........



Edited by ChrisM 2006-10-14 2:05 PM
2006-10-14 2:11 PM
in reply to: #569114

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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?
GolfMark - 2006-10-14 1:49 PM

I think calling it a disease means:

1) Insurance may cover it
2) May take away some responsibility for it (which can be a good thing perhaps -- isn't one of the first steps to say you are powerless over it and therefore it frees you to get help?)
3) Makes it appear very serious. When I hear the word disease, I think of trouble. Condition sounds much tamer.

One of my issues was I was curious if obese people even liked being told that it was a disease.

It has ben Cedars-Sinai airing the commercials:
Cedars-Sinai's Weight Management Program provides a combination of education, group support, food management and exercise to reduce obesity. The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Cedars-Sinai offers minimally invasive surgical techniques to control eating and promote weight loss. These procedures are reversible, unlike older surgical weight-control procedures.




Speaking only for myself - and the former 52" waist version of me - I would say calling it a disease is too easy and gives people who want an out a way of getting out of dealing with it. If I had really believed that I had a disease instead of just a different type of body that needed to be treated differently I'm not certain how motivated I would have been (despite vascular and diabetes issues) to get into shape. It would have been a "medical issue" not something I could work on but something doctors needed to work on.

The most simple lie many of us tell ourselves (whether we know it or not) is that what we put into our bodies for fuel and how we use that fuel is some how separate from our overall health. My blood pressure is normal, my resting heart rate is 38, my blood sugar is always within normal range these are good things. Other problems which may be a result of my weight problem or diabetes like neuropathy will just have to be dealt with on their own terms. The realization that I couldn't live/eat the way many other people do lead me to take steps to maintain my health and remove a lot of other health issues from my plate.

If it is a disease it will become an excuse. No excuses.
2006-10-14 3:26 PM
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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?

I like the quote from the person who said that it isn't a disease but it should be treated as one.

2006-10-14 3:33 PM
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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?

Personally I don't believe it is a disease anymore than alcoholism is a disease.  It is a behavior.  Smoking cigarettes is a behavior, not a disease. Eating too much food is a behavior.  Not exercising is a behavior.  Drinking too much booze is a behavior.

Having said that I will caveat this.  Everyone is physically different and some people are more prone towards addition than others.  Some people get addicted to alcohol and some get addicted to cigarettes and some to food while others never seem to get addicted.  I know people who have smoked 2 or 3 cigarettes for years and sometimes don't smoke for days. They are not addicted but they enjoy smoking.  Not me.  I was 2-pack a day smoker and was as addicted to cigarettes as any heroine addict is to his heroine.  But I quit drinking and smoking and have done neither for nearly 11 years.   It was a behavior change not a disease cure.

Similarly, I believe obesity is a behavior.  Or rather, obesity is the result of behavior - overeating and sedentary lifestyle.

I am very sympathetic towards obese people though because, like I said, we are all different and we can't begin to understand other people's addition.  I've done some pretty tough stuff in my life but by far the very hardest thing I ever did in my life was quit smoking.  No one will ever know how hard it was for me, even other smokers.

So then, I won't judge people who are obese because I don't know how hard it is from them to lose weight....even though I've lost 40 lbs since last Dec 1 by running 737 miles, biking 1,581 miles and swimming 13.25 miles since Dec 1, 2005.

~Mike



Edited by Rogillio 2006-10-14 3:57 PM


2006-10-14 3:40 PM
in reply to: #569114

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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?
GolfMark - 2006-10-14 1:49 PM
shawn barr - 2006-10-14 9:52 AM

I'd like to know the context of how the question came up. So if obesity is a disease, how does it matter....if it is not a disease, then what does that mean. How does the answer to this question affect a person who is obese.

Hope that makes sense?

(OK...so I went back and read the first post. It was a hospital commercial; I understand the context. But, theoretically, I think my questions above make sense. Any thoughts?)

I think calling it a disease means: 1) Insurance may cover it 2) May take away some responsibility for it (which can be a good thing perhaps -- isn't one of the first steps to say you are powerless over it and therefore it frees you to get help?) 3) Makes it appear very serious. When I hear the word disease, I think of trouble. Condition sounds much tamer. One of my issues was I was curious if obese people even liked being told that it was a disease. It has ben Cedars-Sinai airing the commercials: Cedars-Sinai's Weight Management Program provides a combination of education, group support, food management and exercise to reduce obesity. The Center for Weight Loss Surgery at Cedars-Sinai offers minimally invasive surgical techniques to control eating and promote weight loss. These procedures are reversible, unlike older surgical weight-control procedures.

Good thoughts.   All the research on genetics probably has some play on this also.  I've heard people use genetics as excuses for all kinds of things.  The fact is, that just because it's in your genes doesn't make it good for you or "moral" or "immoral".  It's just in your genes.  The genetics in my family make for people who are thin and almost gaunt.  I've had to force myself to eat more at times in my life (I'm 42).  At one point the doctor had me drinking a couple of extra Ensure's per day. 

I guess I've heard the logic...

1) I'm _______________ (fill in the blank)

2) ______________ is caused by my genetics.

3) I can't control my genetics.

4) So being ______________ is o.k.

This doesn't seem to make sense to me.  If a disease is caused by genetics that's not "O.K.".  We try to fight it and fix it.  My being thin due to genetics and metabolism to the point of being unhealthy is not O.K.  The doc wanted me to gain some weight.  Just because it was in my genes doesn't make it o.k.

This comment isn't so much about being obese or thin, but at the way genetics have been or are being used to justify things in society.

2006-10-14 5:36 PM
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Subject: RE: Is Obesity a Disease?

As a Psychologist, my concern with calling everything a "disease," is that this terminology assumes a medical model in terms of development and treatment of the "disease." It paves the way for pills and surgery to treat obesity, but draws funds and energies away from non-medical treatments that are demonstrated, by research, to be more effective and/or less dangerous. It's great for drug companies though. As it is also probably great for the surgical center noted above that used the term.

Addictive behaviors can be very strong and extremely difficult to change, particularly in an environment where change is not supported. Simply saying these sorts of problems (obesity, drug abuse, gambling) are matters of personal choice or responsibility is certainly oversimplifying the problem and, more importantly, does little to help change behavior. Thus, I'm not against identifying obesity as a problem that will benefit from "treatment" (sociologically, behaviorally, medically, etc), but the emphasis should not be on purely medical treatments.



Edited by dredwards 2006-10-14 5:41 PM
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