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Posted March 04, 2020 by Adrian G. Dan, M.D., FACS, FASMBS
Obesity has been deemed a disease of worldwide epidemic proportions. In the United States, obesity directly affects 40% of the adult population and an additional 30% are considered overweight. Obesity is now ranked as the second-highest cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The rate at which obesity has worsened over the past 20 years is alarming, and there is now a growing amount of national attention focused on the problem.
When talking about obesity, it is very important to make the distinction between the social impact of obesity and the medical impact. There are many who feel strongly that there is nothing wrong with being obese. These individuals and groups have advocated for fair and equal treatment of those who are morbidly obese, asserting that being of larger size is something to embrace and of which to be proud.
That is a very different issue than the reality of the impact of obesity on the human body. The body was not designed to carry excessive amounts of weight. Once a person’s weight reaches the state of obesity, there is a significant amount of stress placed on the cardiac, respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. This has led to a multitude of strongly associated medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea, increasing in prevalence. These conditions are significantly impacting healthcare costs and threatening the overall health of our population.
On March 4, 2020, the first unified World Obesity Day will be observed to bring global attention to the critical challenges posed by this very serious epidemic.
The disease of obesity and the individuals afflicted by it remain poorly understood. On the surface, obesity has been misperceived by many as a simple lifestyle choice. But below the surface, we know that the roots of obesity are vast and deep.
A very robust body of scientific evidence now exists that shows that the disease is rooted in metabolic dysfunction. However, significant weight bias and obesity stigma still exists. At the Summa Health Weight Management Institute, we believe that patients with obesity should be treated with the dignity, the support and the access to care that all patients with any disease should be granted.
We are committed to provide support to patients with obesity and encourage them to explore the medical and surgical treatments available to combat it. On March 4, please join us and many other organizations from across the globe as we acknowledge and celebrate the first unified World Obesity Day as we push for solutions that are more comprehensive, treatment and collective responsibility for addressing this global epidemic.