AMA Declares Obesity A Disease Needing Treatment


CHICAGO (UPI) — The American Medical Association declared obesity a disease, which means 90 million U.S. adults and children have a medical condition requiring treatment.

After a debate Tuesday, members of the AMA’s House of Delegates rejected advice of their own experts and extended the new status for obesity to a condition that affects more than a third of U.S. adults and 17 percent of U.S. children, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1-in-3 Americans,” Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member, told the Times.

The vote might pressure health insurance companies to reimburse physicians for the time-consuming task of discussing obesity’s health risks with patients whose body mass index exceeds 30 and encourage doctors to direct their patients to weight-loss programs.One-in-5 employees age 45-74 must quit work for caregivingWednesday, June 19, 2013 12:46 AMWASHINGTON, June 19 (UPI) —  One-in-5 employees age 45-74 say they expect to take time off of work to care for a spouse, a parent or relative in the next five years, AARP officials say.

An AARP report, “Keeping Up with the Times: Supporting Family Caregivers with Workplace Leave Policies,” also said 1-in-4 retirees said they left the workforce earlier than planned to care for an ill spouse or other family member.

“The aging of the population, changing workforce demographics and increasing demands on family caregivers are colliding at the expense of working caregivers,” Lynn Feinberg, senior strategic policy adviser with the AARP Public Policy Institute and author of the report, said in a statement.

“Even as workforce participation and caregiving demands are increasing for caregivers, workplace policies protecting or supporting them have remained stagnant.”

Close to 3-of-4 women of prime caregiving age are in the workforce and 74 percent of adults with eldercare responsibilities have been in the workforce at some point in their caregiving, the report said.

The Family and Medical Leave Act limits leave for caregiving for elderly relatives to parents or spouses, effectively excluding those caring for in-laws, grandparents, or aunts and uncles.

In addition, because FMLA leave is unpaid, it is irrelevant to many low-income workers and it is totally unavailable to those working for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

Nearly two-thirds of workers eligible for FMLA who didn’t take it reported they couldn’t afford to take unpaid leave or were afraid of losing their job, Feinberg said.

Unpaid family and medical leave, paid family and medical leave insurance and earned sick time could ease the burden on both caregivers and employers.

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