Obesity is far from benign. Those who suffer from it are said to be suffering from a complex chronic disease, progressive and recurrent. This is what should be remembered from a report, published on Tuesday, in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
People living with obesity have long suffered from stigma and prejudice, both from society and from healthcare professionals.
In light of the new developments, the authors of the report would like obesity to be recognized as a disease, just like diabetes, cystic fibrosis or heart disease.
The first step in doing this is to encourage healthcare professionals to recognize obesity as a complex chronic disease, characterized by an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat that is harmful to health.
According to the report, healthcare professionals should never take it for granted that the obese patient is ready to deal with the problem. To ensure this, they should ask the patient’s permission at all times before initiating a discussion.
The authors suggest that healthcare professionals turn to a holistic approach to better meet the needs of patients. It’s not just diet or exercise that comes into play when gaining weight.
Indeed, the causes of obesity are numerous. They can be psychological, social or environmental, but they can also result from childhood trauma, binge eating or attention deficit disorder.
Obesity is not just a series of bad individual decisions. It would be in society’s interest to break down its prejudices to overcome them and relieve those who suffer from them.