Is Obesity a Disease?

Dr. David Katz makes the point that obesity is not a disease, but a perfectly normal response to taking in more calories than the body needs. He likens it to drowning and carbon monoxide poisoning. He feels it is wrong to create medications that help stop the effects of excess calorie intake, just as it would be senseless to develop drugs that increase our tolerance for getting water or poisonous gases into our lungs.

We are awash in highly-processed, hyper-palatable, glow-in-the-dark foods. We are afloat in constant currents of aggressive food marketing. We are deluged with ever more labor-saving technological advances, while opportunities for daily physical activity dry up.

We are drowning in calories. And that’s how, in my opinion, we should make obesity medically legitimate: as a form of drowning, not as a disease.

With drowning, we don’t rely on advances from pharmaceutical companies. No one is expecting a drug to “fix” our capacity to drown. Our capacity to drown is part of the normal physiology of terrestrial species.

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