Consensus Statement on Obesity as a Disease

Consensus Statement on Obesity as a Disease

Obesity is a highly prevalent chronic disease characterized by excessive fat accumulation or distribution that presents a risk to health and requires lifelong care. Virtually every system in the body is affected by obesity. Major chronic diseases associated with obesity include diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The body mass index (weight in kg/height in meters2) is used to screen for obesity, but it does not displace clinical judgement. BMI is not a measure of body fat. Social determinants, race, ethnicity, and age may modify the risk associated with a given BMI.

Bias and stigmatization directed at people with obesity contributes to poor health and impairs treatment.

Every person with obesity should have access to evidence-based treatment.

 

In 2022, several obesity and health care focused organizations came together with the intention of addressing the various roadblocks that they each faced in addressing obesity treatment. The organizations were:

 

As part of our discussion, we agreed that it would be beneficial to come to a consensus on the definition of obesity. Our discussions led us to develop the above consensus statement on obesity to give us a tool for how to talk about obesity, the same way as we do other diseases.

As the core organizations that address obesity, we worked together to write this statement, which also includes how to address using BMI as a tool for diagnosis. Our goal is for each of us to communicate this definition of obesity publicly.