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AMA: Obesity is a disease

Group votes on policies concerning compounding, use of drugs to prevent HIV, energy drinks, sunscreen

CHICAGO — The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, which could affect how healthcare professionals approach the issue, the group said at its annual meeting in Chicago.

The new policy was one of several adopted in a day of voting at the meeting, and the group said it would now recognize obesity as a disease requiring treatment and prevention.

"Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one-in-three Americans," AMA board member Patrice Harris said. "The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity."

The group also voted to support Food and Drug Administration oversight over sterile compounding pharmacies, particularly those that compound drugs without first receiving a prescription and sell them across state lines, as well as state pharmacy board regulation of traditional compounding.

"As the recent meningococcal outbreak linked to non-sterile injectables illustrates, there are real concerns about the safety of pharmacy compounding practices," board member William Kobler said. "Expanding oversight and regulation of these compounding practices will help better protect public health and ensure patient safety and access."

Citing studies confirming that effective antiretroviral therapy can reduce transmission of HIV by up to 96%, the group expressed support for programs that raise physicians' awareness of early treatment and so-called "treatment as prevention."

Other policies adopted by the group included support for banning the marketing energy drinks to people younger than 18, allowing students in schools to carry sunscreen without a doctor's note — laws in most states ban students from carrying over-the-counter drugs without permission — and raising awareness of the potential health risks of prolonged sitting.


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