Interesting thoughts from Arya Sharma

Dr. Arya Sharma often raises some interesting issues and even manages o avoid fat shaming for the most part. I am far less enthusiastic about bariatric surgery than he is but he does at least concede that to be fat is not necessarily to be in poor health and hat is no small thing in the medical world. This past week he posted about problems he sees with the definition of obesity as a disease.

Monday he began this series of posts with the following:

Following in the footsteps of other organisations like the American and Canadian Medical Associations, the Obesity Society, the Obesity Medical Association, and the Canadian Obesity Network, this month, the World Obesity Federation put out an official position statement on recognising obesity as a chronic relapsing progressive disease.

The position statement, published in Obesity Reviews, outlines the rationale for recognising obesity as a chronic disease and is very much in line with the thinking of the other organisations that have long supported this notion.

Think about this - being fat is in and of itself "a chronic relapsing progressive disease”. Take a look at who funds the World Obesity Federation, which you can find here — major funders are drug companies, weight loss businesses and others who benefit from  further pathologizing weight. The greater the alarm raised, the greater to push to get people to do whatever they can to lose weight. These same funders are part of all of the participating organizations, creating conflicts of interest  that should not be ignored. The watchwords Follow the Money certainly applies here.

With that caution in mind, it is to Sharma’s credit that he sees some problems with this blanket statement and goes on to discuss ways he thinks it should be modified. Take a look at the remaining posts he made last week and see what you think and feel. You can find them here:

1. Checklist for modifying disease defnitions

2. Obesity Definition Then And Now

3. Impact Of Changing Obesity Definition on Prevalence

4. Why Redefine Obesity?

I’ll be back in a couple of days with some of my own thoughts on this subject.