Finally, finally!  Canada has joined in with other nations to FINALLY recognize obesity as a chronic disease.

On October 9th, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) officially declared obesity to be ‘a chronic medical disease requiring enhanced research, treatment and prevention efforts’. 

As CMA president Cindy Forbes states:

“It is important for health care providers to recognize obesity as a disease so preventive measures can be put in place and patients can receive the appropriate treatment.  This move by the CMA speaks to the importance of addressing obesity and dealing with the stigma that is often associated with the condition.”

I couldn’t agree more.  There is an urgent need to shift society’s thinking away from the idea that obesity is a lifestyle choice, and towards understanding the complex physiologic mechanisms that underlie this medical condition.

The CMA now joins other organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization, in recognizing obesity as a chronic medical condition.  With this important recognition, Canada has taken an important step towards supporting patients with obesity, and abolishing the obesity stigma that plagues not only our society, but also health care.

The way forward is now for improvements in access to important treatment options for patients with obesity – from nutritional counselling, to psychological support, to medications, to bariatric surgery.

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