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Obesity as a disease: has the AMA resolution had an impact on how physicians view obesity?
Funk LM, Jolles SA, Voils CI. Obesity as a disease: has the AMA resolution had an impact on how physicians view obesity? Surgery for obesity and related diseases : official journal of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery. 2016 Aug 1; 12(7):1431-1435.
In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) passed a resolution characterizing obesity as a disease. It is unclear whether primary care physicians (PCPs) agree with this characterization and how their agreement or lack thereof affects their treatment of patients with obesity.
We sought to understand PCP opinions about the AMA obesity resolution and how it has affected management of patients with obesity.
Small, medium, and large communities in Wisconsin METHODS: Focus groups were conducted with PCPs in Wisconsin. PCPs were asked whether they considered obesity a disease and what they factored into this consideration, including the AMA decision. A directed approach to content analysis was used to analyze the data. A taxonomy of consensus codes was developed, coding summaries were generated, and representative quotes were identified.
Three focus groups comprising a total of 16 PCP participants were conducted. Not all PCPs were aware of the AMA resolution. PCPs held divergent opinions on whether obesity represented a disease, primarily focusing their considerations on obesity as a risk factor versus a disease. They also discussed how considering obesity as a disease affects the patient-doctor relationship, insurance coverage, physician reimbursement, and research.
The AMA resolution did not appear to have made a significant impact on PCP opinions or management practices in our focus groups in Wisconsin. Follow-up surveys that quantify the prevalance of these opinions and practices at the state and national levels would be highly informative.