AMA CEO James Madara

AMA Resolves for Obesity Treatment Access

Exactly one year after an unsteady move to recognize obesity as a complex chronic disease, the American Medical Association (AMA) jumped on board to advocate for patient access to evidence-based obesity treatment. Resolution 111 passed without opposition:

Resolved that our AMA, consistent with H-440.842 Recognition of Obesity as a Disease, work in concert with national specialty and state medical societies to advocate for patient access to the full continuum of care of evidence-based obesity treatment modalities (such as behavioral, pharmaceutical, psychosocial, nutritional, and surgical interventions).

This is worth noting for two reasons. First, the Big Kahunas of the American medical establishment, like AMA, have been difficult to mobilize for the cause of delivering better care for obesity. It’s difficult to understand without factoring in the widespread bias against people with obesity. Too many doctors, for too long, have viewed people with obesity as a waste of their time.

Obesity Society President Steven Smith praised the AMA decision, saying:

Passage of the “Patient Access to Evidence-Based Obesity Services” resolution gives the AMA decisive direction to support advocacy efforts to improve patient access to all evidence-based obesity treatments. Proven obesity treatments range from bariatric surgery and obesity drugs to intensive lifestyle interventions and nutrition counseling – and evidence supporting new and improved treatments are emerging each day.

In a recent interview with Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, Obesity Society advocacy advisor Ted Kyle explained why access to care is an important problem.

The Affordable Care Act has brought some good news for people with obesity. But the bad news is that change is slow, and some of the bad habits related to how health plans deal with obesity are hanging on.

So having the AMA resolve to advocate for better access to obesity treatment is a big deal.

Click here to read the Obesity Society’s statement on AMA’s resolution and here to read more about access to obesity care under the Affordable Care Act.

AMA CEO James Madara, Photograph © The American Medical Association

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