Pagoto explains obesity as a disease on

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

July 02, 2013

Should obesity be classified as a disease?

Sherry Pagoto, PhD, associate professor of medicine, agrees with the recent decision by the American Medical Association to label it as such, and explains her rationale in a guest blog published on

“While the definition of ‘disease’ continues to be debated, the AMA’s call to action is much needed given that access to non-surgical preventive care is virtually non-existent,” Dr. Pagoto writes on the White Coat Notes blog. “Rates of physician counseling for obesity have declined as rates of obesity have risen, meaning physicians are doing less, not more, over time to combat the risks that obesity imparts on patients. Also concerning is that behavioral counseling, shown in large randomized trials to significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, is not a reimbursable health care service.”

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