Is obesity a disability?

Perceptions change with time. At one point in history, the popular option for people suffering from a mental illness was an asylum. On that note, is obesity a disability? According to this AP story, the American Medical Association does not believe so. But, is it time that we considered obesity as such? What do you think?

AMA objects to calling obesity a disability
CHICAGO — The American Medical Association has taken action to support doctors’ ability to discuss obesity with their overweight patients.

Under a new policy adopted Tuesday, the AMA formally opposes efforts by advocacy groups to define obesity as a disability.

Doctors fear using that definition makes them vulnerable under disability laws to lawsuits from obese patients who don’t want their doctors to discuss their weight.

Doctors took the action at their annual meeting in Chicago.

In other action Tuesday, the AMA agreed to lobby for legislation to ban selling tobacco in pharmacies.

Health care reform issues are slated to come up later at the meeting, which ends Wednesday

23 comments Add your comment


June 18th, 2009
10:27 am

Wait, Dr can’t talk to their patients about that patients disabilities?
No obesity is NOT a disability and I do want my Dr to talk with me about mine, because I am working with the fact that the Dr probably knows more about healthy nutrition and excercise than I do. (ok I probably do know more about nutrition than my Dr but I am an exception).

Bill Cranford

June 18th, 2009
6:26 pm

Until I no longer have to wait while the 300lb person in front of me (168lbs; 5′9″) and my grandchildren pile 8, yes, 8 pieces of pizza on their plate at CiCi’s , I’m going to be hard pressed to call them disabled. I will, however, say they should see a mental health professional as it may be an obsession, but I’m not a doctor so I personally think they should not accept temptation. I quit smoking after 45 years of 2 packs a day, they should be able to do the same when it comes to food.


June 18th, 2009
6:37 pm

Obesity, in almost all cases is not a disability. Poor eating habits are just that, poor eating habits. Is smoking a disability or just a bad habit? The lack of nutritional education plays a major role in obesity in America. That coupled with the fact that the least expensive foods are the absolute worst things to eat. Sure, excessive quantities of any food plays a role, especially corn and corn by products such as High Fructose Corn Syurp (HFCS). There are about 20 corn and corn by products in a single chicken Mcnugget alone. Educate people, demand higer quality, less processed foods from Agribusiness. Close all drive thru restaurants and our health care costs will be reduced significantly.


June 18th, 2009
6:55 pm

Some people are annoying, they just can’t help it, no matter how hard they try not to be annoying, they still end up being annoying. Should this be considered a disablity too? If some obese people need a title, let’em have it. I’m one obese person who will tell you I don’t need that title. What I need to do is get off this couch and turn off the laptop.


June 18th, 2009
6:59 pm

If someone is born without legs, or loses them in an accident, there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. If someone is born blind, or loses their eyesight due to a disease, that’s pretty much it. But if someone is obese, there is a fix. PUT. DOWN. THE. FORK. STOP. STUFFING. YOUR FACE.

Tina P. Smith

June 18th, 2009
7:25 pm

Being overweight is NOT a disability. All doctors should talk with their patients about their weight.

Wolfgang Blicker

June 18th, 2009
7:31 pm

In a word, NO. Obesity is a choice for most people, plain and simple. All the politically correct gibberish spouted by “advocacy” groups is just that and nothing more. Eat right and exercise and most people will get to their correct body weight.

“Advocacy” groups are a bane to American existence. They are a small voice that costs taxpayers millions because that is inevitably where they go to fund their hair brained schemes once they get someone with enough political clout to get on the gravy train.


June 18th, 2009
7:52 pm

This is gonna be great, under the new socialized medicine plans, obese people will be at first be taxed more for an unhealthy lifestyle (and they will probably use the BMI which categorized anyone with any kind of athletic build obese) and then when they file the return they will get it all back and more via disabled benefits. Outstanding! should be entertaining to see which advocacy group does better. As always the real winners will be the lawyers


June 18th, 2009
8:34 pm

Sir, if Obama and his gang of Chicago thugs have their way, it soon will be!!


June 18th, 2009
8:44 pm

“Give me a break, even the PC use of the word “obese” makes me nauseous. They are FAT PORKY PIGS, not “obese.” Calling ME “obese” instead of what I am, a FAT PORKY PIG doesn’t make me weigh 1 pound less of look one iota better in a speedo, (just dam, I shoulda posted an alert for THAT mental picture, sorry if any of you heaved.) In the fight to stop anorexia and other eating disorders, the PC police have gone too far. I don’t remember SO MANY fat chicks when I was in high school in the late 70’s early 80’s. You look around a high school now and all you see is FAT. AND THEY ARE PROUD OF BEING FAT CHICKS. They wear clothes so that their fat ugly BARE stomachs are visible to the whole world. Dam fat chick, put a tent on that thing, folks are trying to eat over here.

Fat Porky Pigs will be fat porky pigs until they get tired of being fat porky pigs. I got tired of being a fat porky pig, or being out of breath from getting off the couch to get another beer out of the fridge. I knew it was bad when it became a workout to open that bag of chips. So I put the twinkie down, got my fat butt off the couch and started working out for real, (well not for REAL real, but real enough for a fat porky pig trying to get back into a shape that isn’t called ROUND) and went on a 1500 calorie a day diet (holy cow, I used to spill more food down my chin and onto my fat porky stomach a day than 1500 calories). Yeah, I dream of plates of chicken wings surrounded by mounds of hot greasy french fries washed down with pitchers of ice cold beer. (oh yeah, I’m drooling on my keyboard), but I’ve lost 15 pounds so far. I still can’t see my feet when I stand up straight (hell I ain’t seen them in 10 years, I’m not even sure if I HAVE feet still) but I lost one of my chins, I’m down to 3 now.

Disability my fat porky ass.


June 23rd, 2009
3:41 pm

Fred, the world needs more people like you that see it how it is.


July 1st, 2009
11:05 am

How about the percentages of blacks overweight? Isn’t it like 70%? Unreal.


July 1st, 2009
11:09 am

What’s sad is that I have a Co Worker who is 28 with high blood pressure. She got bent out of shape when her doctor told her that she was obese and that she needed to lose weight. She complained to anyone who would listen about how rude it was that her Dr. pointed out that she has gained 20lbs in ONE YEAR! Right now as I am typing she is drinking some concoction from Starbucks and snacking rice cakes. Lunch is less than an hour way – sad.


July 1st, 2009
11:19 am

People need to exercise, drink plenty of water, and stop eatin like a drunk on a binge. Eat to live, not live to eat. At lunchtime and you are not hungry, take a walk and skip the meal.


July 1st, 2009
11:25 am

I will go deeper. I don’t think health care companies should be required to pay for obestiy issues. Obestity is causing health care to sky rocket. I’ve been with my company for 13yrs. I have watch coworkers gain 20-30lbs per year. I have co-workers who are on their 2nd gastro bypass surgery. They are too lazy to go get their lunch, they have 2000 calories/100 grams of fat delivered every day. My company has excellent heathcare package. If these people with these uncontrollable appetites had to pay for the up keep of their bodies, they would learn some self control.


July 1st, 2009
11:29 am

Obesity is a sin, it says so in the Bible.

God created Adam and Eve, NOT, Fatty and Obesia.

Obesity is a CHOICE! Fat people will one day demand the right to marry cakes, ice cream pizza, and pie.

Gluttony is a sin. God hates fat people. Its in the Bible.


July 1st, 2009
11:30 am

I have a friend that is 50. She has every disease associated with obesity. Now she gets disability cause she can barely walk. She continues to switch doctors cause the ones she had for years have come right out and told her that there is no magic pill for her pain. One doc told her that every time she come, she is bigger & bigger. She claim that the bedside mannor of these doctors are terrible and she refuse to be talk down to. Is their a nice way of telling a patient to get off their fat a$$ and take control of their life. These doctors are tired of talking common sense to idoits.


July 1st, 2009
11:42 am

Obesity is caused by sugar and refined carbs. There was no such thing as diabetes or populations of obese people before the Western diet of breads and sugars.

Obese people do not eat anymore than anyone else.

These government agencies refuse to admit they were wrong about high fat diets being unhealthy.

Nothing will change until the causes are addressed.


July 1st, 2009
1:20 pm

Obese people do not eat anymore than anyone else.
Adam – your soap box broke at that statement. You must not have any obese friends because obese people do eat more than slim people. What we eat is also important but blaming the government is a copout. Someone must live in a cave not to know high fat foods, refined sugar and carbs and over processed foods will make you fat. But people still buy foods that they know are not good for them. It is a decision not a conspiracy

Rule .303

July 1st, 2009
2:33 pm

Are you kidding me? 90 percent of the people with disabled parking permits are fat black women driving Caddielacs. Lay off the fried chicken Bertha, you should be parking at the BACK of the parking lot and walking your fat ass.


July 1st, 2009
4:38 pm


fat people don’t eat more calories to maintain being obese. yes, they eat more to get there and the delivery system is carbs.

if i told you to get fat by eating steaks, you wouldn’t be able. your body couldn’t eat that many steaks.

all starvation diets fail unless they contain a large percentage of fat to satiate the patients.

all the mumbo-jumbo about emotional eating is a crock. nobody wants to be like this. they are freaking hungry because of a defect.


October 30th, 2009
12:09 pm

Morbid obesity is a disability. I am a victim of it and I can’t get any help. My doctor told me that I’m going to die within 10 years if I don’t get gastric bypass operation. I don’t have $25,000.00 cash to get it. I see a lot of people are really cruel in this website and they don’t understand what we are going through. I am 415 pounds and a diabetic suffer severe high blood pressure and sleep apnea. How can I work with these conditions. I have tried everything in the book. I will tell you what the real truth of the matter is. It’s all about the MONEY. That’s right, the government knows that people are dying from this condition including the insurance companies out there know it too. The governent does not want to give social security disability all because of a stupid Bart Simpson show that scared the hell out of social security and where afraid about obesed people applying for disability. Well I can’t work anymore because I am disabled. I’m dying in a slow manner and I can’t pay for barriatic surgery. I’m on 12 different kind of medications a day, but they say we obesed people are not disabled. It’s all about politics and MONEY. The government has time to waste billions of our tax dollars on the Iraqi war, People that hate us stipid Americans, but no money to spend on it’s own citizens that needs help the most. why is it the skinny guy or the female Chinese doctor working in our emergency room that look down on us being over weight? I don’t want to be like this, but I am. I had to hire a lawyer to fight the dam social security system cause they deny 75% of the people that apply for it. I worked hard all my life and paid into the system like a good American should pay. Now I feel that social security needs to pay back what I put in and not write me off since they misused our tax dollars. Tell that to AMA,Social Security, and Obama.


June 2nd, 2010
5:08 pm

Steve, did you really just blame the government for your obesity? Seriously? Did someone from the Secret Service come to your house and hold a gun to your head, making you eat until you stretched your stomache to the point that only surgery can make it not huge? Grow some willpower, lower your caloric intake and take a walk. And if you refuse to do this than I do not feel an ounce of sympathy for the fact that you will be dead soon. One less fatty to be on disability.