The Debate Over Whether Obesity Is A Disease Or A Choice

Reported by: Tom Kenny
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Updated: 6/24/2013 10:50 pm
Kentucky is ranked one of the top ten obese states in America.

Nearly a third of the people in Kentucky are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The term 'Obese' has new meaning in the medical world since the American Medical Association (AMA) classified obesity as a disease.

That designation has triggered debate over whether obesity is a disease or a choice.

Neil Burns of Madison County, who has lost 400-pounds through eating a proper diet and exercising, said his first reaction to the AMA classification was that it was done simply do doctors could make more money.

Under medical guidelines, Megan Ellis is classified as obese.  She said she doesn't think she has a disease.  She said there wasn't any medical reason she gained 200-to-300 pounds.  She said it was done by choice. 

She's now working with Neil Burns to eat right, exercise and lose her extra weight.

Dr. Phillip Kern, the Director of the Obesity Center at the University of Kentucky, said he doesn't think obesity gets the respect it should.
 
He said the AMA's decision has resulted in heavy attention being put on obesity. 

He said we need a cultural change.  "No matter how much we say we want to change our lifestyles, we go back out into a world that's a continuous buffet," said Dr. Kern.

Dr. Kern added that he thinks the problem of obesity is only going to get worse before it gets better.
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