Spartan Race Responds to the American Medical Association’s Classification of Obesity as a Disease

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Spartan Race comments on the American Medical Association’s vote to classify obesity as a disease.

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On July 8, Spartan Race, an international obstacle racing series, comments on the American Medical Association’s decision to classify obesity as a disease.

According to a Spartan blog written on June 27, 2013 by Spartan Pro Team athlete Corinne Kohlen titled, “AMA: Obesity Is A Disease,” the American Medical Association (AMA) voted earlier last week to classify obesity as a disease. Kohlen, a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Nutrition Support Clinician, says, “This decision has come after much controversy and years of debate.”

According to Kohlen, 1 in 3 Americans are obese when observing BMIs. She says in her blog, “Currently obesity is defined by using Body Mass Index or BMI. BMI is a ratio of one’s weight to height and for most people correlates with their amount of body fat.” Individuals are classified as obese if their BMI exceeds 30, while a “normal weight” is anywhere from 18.5 to 24.9. However, BMI measurements are not always indicative of an individual’s overall health.

Kohlen states that supporters of the AMA’s decision “believe classifying obesity as a disease will reduce the stigma associated with the condition and make it easier for physicians and patients to talk about. It may also help get the attention of insurers and researchers and increase reimbursement and availability of counseling, treatments, surgery, prevention, and drugs to treat obesity.”

However, Kohlen is also aware of the potential negative aspects of the decision. Individuals may become overly reliant on weight loss medication and surgery when they become diagnosed, instead of attempting to make health and behavioral adjustments.

Spartan Race CEO and founder Joe DeSena comments on the AMA’s decision to classify obesity as a disease. “Whether or not obesity is classified as a disease, the level of motivation that a person has will help determine his or her success in losing weight and becoming healthier. We talk to many individuals who have used the goal of completing a Spartan Race as motivation for losing weight.”

DeSena goes on to cite the story of multiple Spartan Race finisher Chris Davis, who lost over 400 pounds with the help of DeSena and the Spartan Coaches.


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Scott Darrohn
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