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American Medical Association Declares Obesity a Disease

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Obesity is a disease, according to the American Medical Association.

The nation’s largest physician organization made the designation on Tuesday in an effort to get more doctors to recognize the health risks associated with obesity and so that insurance companies will be more inclined to help the one in three Americans who are severely overweight.

Insurers might make it easier for obese patients to obtain drugs and surgery if the condition is considered a disease despite the AMA having no legal authority.

The group made the decision even as its own Council on Science and Public Health determined that obesity shouldn’t be recognized as a disease because critics maintain that body mass index, the measure used to define obesity, can often be wrong.

For instance, people who aren't regarded as obese by body mass index can still have unhealthy levels of body fat and metabolic problems while those defined as obese might be free of health issues.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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