If you are an American, being obese doesn’t just mean you are overweight anymore.
The American Medical Association voted Tuesday that obesity is now officially a ‘disease that requires treatment’. The LA Times reported:
“In the end, members of the AMA’s House of Delegates rejected cautionary advice from their own experts and extended the new status to a condition that affects more than one-third of adults and 17% of children in the United States.
‘Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately 1 in 3 Americans,’ said Dr. Patrice Harris, an AMA board member.”
You heard the good doctor — one in three Americans requires treatment! What kind of treatment? Why, pharmaceuticals of course! We certainly can’t allow 78 million U.S. adults and 12 million U.S. children to walk around with an ‘untreated’ disease, now can we?
So get ready for your commercial-filled television broadcasts to fill up with even more commercials asking if you are one of the one in three Americans that has this brand new official disease obesity and if *insert Big Pharma company name here*’s new drug is right for you!
And don’t worry, it’s not like the approval process for new drugs even takes that long in this country, considering the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t even do any actual testing and just leaves all that up to the drug companies. In fact, according to the FDA’s F.A.Q. on the drug approval process on that very question:
“It is the responsibility of the company seeking approval to market a drug to conduct laboratory and animal tests on the safety and effectiveness of a proposed new drug and then to submit that information to FDA for review…”
This new disease classification can be thrown on the pile with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently released report claiming that a fifth of American children officially have a mental disorder and the newfound fact that one in ten Americans is on some sort of antidepressant medication. (Fun fact: the first antidepressant hit the U.S. market in 1988, and since then, antidepressant use in this country has skyrocketed 400 percent.)
Sadly, all of this makes sense considering the fifth and latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has now classified that every human emotion is some sort of disorder.
Prescription drugs are a big, booming business in this country. In fact, Americans spent $325.7 billion on prescriptions just last year. Pharmaceutical use is continually on the rise here, with nearly half of all Americans on at least one drug, while a third are taking two or more. Case in point: overdoses on prescription medications now kill more people in this country than car crashes.
America spends more overall on healthcare than any other country in the world, even though we’re consistently ranked dead last when it comes to life expectancy and infant mortality rates as compared to other developed nations.
Yet we are number one at something, because a 2010 U.K. Department of Health study found that, of the top 14 countries of the westernized world, the U.S. takes the most prescription medications by volume per capita. The report also found, “Clinical culture and attitudes towards treatment remain important determinants in levels of uptake.”
Attitudes towards treatment? Makes sense. It certainly is tough to imagine a nation of people that’s constantly being sold how sick they are every time they turn on a television or open a magazine more than Americans are.
Got a problem sleeping? Concentrating? Smiling enough? Patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time? Surely there’s a drug out there (with a pretty little price tag) that can treat your condition and keep Big Pharma execs skipping all the way to the bank.
You would think with all these wonderful new medications that everyone is on, Americans would be a whole lot healthier if prescriptions actually made people healthy, right?
Wrong. The market for so-called “specialty drugs” — drugs that treat hardcore health problems like cancer and inflammatory diseases — increased 20 percent last year and is projected to increase by a whopping 67 percent by 2015. Pretty horrifying, actually. Kinda makes you wonder why so many more people than ever before are being diagnosed with cancer and having so many more auto-immune issues, doesn’t it?
Answer from the American medical community: “Eh…dunno.”
Because no one’s really answering that question. Why? We don’t race for the cause in this country, only the cure.
And the cure is, apparently, more prescriptions. Now that obesity is officially a disease, even more people will end up on even more medications. Pretty soon there won’t be anything left that can’t be “cured” with a pill.