Obesity – A Disease?

August 24, 2017

Researchers now recognize that obesity does not simply result from willful overeating and laziness, but from the complex interaction of genetic, metabolic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Numerous organizations, including the World Health Organization, National Institutes of Health, and the American Obesity Association, have come out in favor of declaring obesity a disease, rather than viewing it as a moral failing or a lifestyle choice. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are already termed diseases.

For both physical assessment and epidemiological studies, Body Mass Index (BMI) is still in common use and includes the following categorizations:

  • Underweight: BMI less than 18.5 kg/m2
  • Normal weight: BMI of 18.5-24.9 kg/m2
  • Overweight: 25.0-29.9 kg/m2
  • Class I Obese: 30.0-34.9 kg/m2
  • Class II Obese: 35.0-39.9 kg/m2
  • Class III Obese: >40 kg/m2

The drugs and devices covered in this report have been grouped into the following modalities:

  • Drugs
    • Satiety
    • Malabsorption
    • Appetite suppression
    • Combination drugs
  • Medical devices
    • Restrictive
    • Artificial fullness
    • Malabsorption
    • Gastric emptying
    • Appetite suppression

The total market for obesity treatments in 2009 was estimated to be $1,270.1 million, led by restriction devices at $397.2 million, or 31% of the global market. The pharmaceutical modalities overall accounted for a larger percentage of total revenues (67%) than did medical devices (33%).