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MFA News: Industry News

The Medical Fitness Association Weighs in on the American Medical Association’s Assertion

Tuesday, July 2, 2013   (0 Comments)
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Stedman’s medical dictionary defines disease as: "an identifiable group of signs and symptoms and the presence of anatomical alterations.” Taken at face value, one who is obese clearly meets medical criteria for Disease.

Scientifically, the medical community defines an obese individual as one who has a Body Mass Index (BMI- a measurement of one’s weight relative to their height) of 30 or more. The normal BMI range is 19-24.9, overweight is 25-29.9. Your BMI can be calculated using the following formula:

While the BMI is at best an approximation to define obesity, seeing it is hard to miss. In the United States of America, nearly 100 million people are classified as Overweight and/or Obese. The discussion as to whether the American Medical Association correctly defines obesity as a disease fosters discussions both in support and opposition. But is that really the issue? The important points to consider are obesity’s impact: psychosocially, medically, and economically. The negative social stigma of being overweight is obvious. Obesity is unto itself a "chronic” condition and it is also implicated as a culprit in four other major chronic diseases: Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Arthritis, and Cancer. These entities are responsible for over 80% of all hospital admissions and greater than 75% of our annual health care expenditure is implicated for the treatment of these and other chronic diseases in the USA. Our National health care expenditure now exceeds 2.5 trillion dollars and the economic burden of such is nearly insurmountable.

The Medical Fitness Association (MFA), a non-profit organization, formed in 1991, fully supports the American Medical Association’s "awareness” campaign and commends its leadership for bringing this issue into the forefront. It is the mission and vision of the MFA to serve as a leader in the health care industry and to promote healthy living through evidence based exercise and physical fitness. The Medical Fitness Association provides industry standards, educational programs, benchmarks, outcome measurements, professional development and networking opportunities for the entire medical fitness industry. While it is clearly acknowledged that obesity is not always directly associated with lack of exercise or fitness, and that environmental and genetic factors can be implicated, it is well known and supported in the literature that those who are physically fit are healthier.

By classifying obesity as a disease, the implications, interventions and lifestyle changes necessary to combat this morbidity will likely be more accessible and readily available. We are hopeful that much needed funding will become available for research and development of new exercise paradigm’s, dietary interventions, medication management and more advanced surgical options.

The Medical Fitness Association will continue in partnership with the medical profession to promote medically based fitness centers, to collaborate with the medical profession optimizing physical fitness and healthy living and will serve as a certifying body for the industry.

Robert S. Gotlin, D.O.
Board Member
Medical Fitness Association

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