|Beth A. Slagle, Esquire|
Is obesity a disease, or merely a condition resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle?
The debate has raged for decades. Now the American Medical Association (AMA) finally put the question to rest in June when it voted in favor of Resolution 420, officially declaring obesity to be a disease, whether the cause is a physiological disorder or an unhealthy lifestyle choice. The AMA compared obesity to lung cancer, which is unquestionably considered a disease, whether the cause is harmful behavior like smoking or another factor.
While the resolution was intended to increase medical and community support for obese patients, it may have unintended consequences for employers. With the official classification of obesity as a disease, it may be easier for overweight employees to claim protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
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