AMA now says more than 60 pct. of Kern Co. has disease: obesity

AMA now says more than 60 pct. of Kern Co. has disease: obesity »Play Video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The American Medical Association is now classifying obesity as a disease.

The goal is for medical professionals take a closer look at the complications and dangers of the disease. There is also the hope that insurance will cover treatments for those with the disease.

Currently, many obese people don’t seek the help they need, because they can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs of the treatment. According to a study in 2009, more than 60 percent of Kern County adults were considered overweight or obese.

"Obesity is something that causes tremendous health problems,” said Dr. Claudia Jonah of the Kern County Public Health Department. "Just being heavier than your skeletal frame is intended to carry can literally wear out the bones."

She also mentions the many other chronic illnesses and diseases that can occur as a result of obesity, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Jonah said the insurance coverage can also help tackle the behavioral aspect of the problem.

Some people disagree with the diseases’ new status, claiming that obesity is a choice and is caused by laziness and poor eating habits.

Jonah said no matter what the cause is, it still needs to be acknowledged as a problem and treated accordingly.