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Endocrinologists Say Obesity is a Disease

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.—Obesity is not solely the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices, say members of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). The group recently declared obesity as a disease state, saying there are medical conditions that contribute to obesity.

"Whereas obesity was formerly viewed largely as the consequence of consistently poor lifestyle choices, sufficient evidence has accumulated to implicate a number of heterogeneous hormonal and regulatory disorders in the pathogenesis and progression of the obese state," said Alan Garber, MD, PhD, FACE, AACE Vice-President. “Thus, multiple therapeutic interventions may be necessary lifelong to delay or reverse obesity in patients. Certainly, current efforts have not prevented the proliferation of obesity in the US population as well as elsewhere. Additional interventions and alternative approaches are clearly necessary."

The decision was based on results of a report from an AACE Task Force on Obesity, which reviewed available clinical data and determined that there is sufficient data to suggest that obesity is not just a condition, but is actually a disease state. AACE believes the decision will help lead the way for more effective therapies and treatments to help the 34 percent of Americans currently suffering with obesity.

“We are witnessing the global epidemic of obesity accelerating progression to diabetes and CVD and reversing the reduction in heart disease which we witnessed in the late 20th Century," said Dr. Handelsman. “AACE has already included obesity in its strategic plan to combat diabetes. Recognizing the endocrine hormonal roots of Obesity, AACE has vowed to be in the forefront of the clinical management of obesity and its dire consequences."

As a result of the declaration of obesity as a disease state, AACE plans to develop resources for the various modalities of obesity management, including behavioral, nutritional, pharmacological and surgical. These efforts will be part of a comprehensive campaign which will include sociopolitical, public, and educational outreach. Additionally, AACE will interact with other professional medical societies and the FDA regarding obesity research and the consideration of anti-obesity drugs and their approval pathways.

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