Is Obesity a Disease?

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Is obesity a disease?
Obesity is defined as "a condition that is characterized by excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. Obesity puts people at risk for Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and some cancers. It not only causes structural changes in a person's fat tissue, but it also controls how the body handles lipids, insulin and blood sugar. This condition presents itself when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this is caused by eating too much and exercising too little, but there are other factors that also play a role such as age, gender, genetics, environmental factors, physical activity, physiological factors, illnesses, and medications . There are a few exceptions, mostly extreme cases of a health problem where no matter what people do or eat; they become obese due to a single genetic mutation. Many believe obesity is a preventable risk factor for other diseases, like smoking is a preventable risk factor for lung cancer or like drinking is a preventable risk factor for alcoholism. The question raised today is; is obesity a disease or a lifestyle? A Survey conducted by the Gallup Poll from July 8-14, 2004 showed that 21% of Americans believe "obesity is a disease," while 75% viewed obesity as a "problem of bad eating and bad lifestyle habits." Many believe obesity is a disease, cannot be prevented, and leads to other deadly health issues. On the contrary there are those who argue that obesity is a personal responsibility and can be controlled. Classifying obesity as a disease would scare overweight or obese people, who are healthy into seeking unnecessary medical treatments, and cause public funds to treat a preventable condition. Obesity is the result of sedentary lifestyles and not illness. For example, compared to 40 years ago, people today spend more time commuting, sitting in front of a computer,...
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