Today, obesity has become one of the key issues of public health. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.3% of adults were obese, and 32.7% were overweight in the US in 2006. These numbers increase annually, leading to deaths and comorbid diseases. Although some people consider that obesity is a disease caused by biological and psychological factors, others are confident that it should not be perceived as a disease because of a lack of willpower and poor lifestyles.
The official organizations, such as the Federal Drug and Food Administration, the World Health Organization, and the Internal Revenue Service, agree that obesity is a disease. The key argument is that it is a chronic condition that causes heart, gynecological, gastrointestinal, and other health risks. Moreover, this disease is potentially fatal, which makes it especially dangerous for people having high blood pressure, diabetes, and so on.
The proponents of obesity as a disease claim that a lack of clarity leads to stigma and misunderstanding. People with overweight and obesity face a lack of support from care providers and society in general. Obesity requires holistic treatment and significant investments, which proves that it is a medical condition that can be promoted by a range of factors, including genetic predisposition and comorbid diseases.
However, the opponents of considering obesity to be a disease argue that lifestyles and eating habits can be controlled by people, which means that it is their choice to have excessive weight. The area of living and a social status also determine lifestyles. In addition, some organizations, such as the American College of Physicians and American Nurses Association, have no clear statements regarding whether gaining excessive weight is a disease or not.
To conclude, there is no single opinion about the nature of obesity. On the one hand, some official organizations accept that it is a chronic medical condition that brings serious health risks. On the other hand, eating habits, social issues, and lifestyles play an important role in developing obesity. Further research is necessary to properly define obesity and design proper policies and interventions for combating this epidemic.