Current Obesity Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 291–297 | Cite as

Obesity as a Disease: Current Policies and Implications for the Future

  • Scott Kahan
  • Tracy Zvenyach
Obesity Treatment (CM Apovian, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Obesity Treatment


The recognition of obesity as a chronic disease is increasing. However, there is variable acknowledgment of it as a disease in health policies across the USA. The objective of this review is to describe how obesity meets the definition of a disease, explain its interpretation in current health policies, and explore implications for obesity in future health policy adoption and development. Perspectives are presented from scientific evidence, clinical practice, and health policy areas including Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, federal government agency guidance, and healthcare quality.


Obesity Chronic disease Comorbid condition Treatment Health policy Government Access to healthcare Weight loss 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Scott Kahan has received compensation from Vivus, Takeda, Novo Nordisk, and Orexigen for service as a consultant, and has received textbook royalties from Johns Hopkins University Press and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Tracy Zvenyach has received compensation for employment from Novo Nordisk, currently owns stock in Novo Nordisk, and has received tuition assistance from the University of Maryland – Baltimore.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Washington University, The School of Medicine and Health SciencesWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.University of Maryland School of NursingBaltimoreUSA
  4. 4.Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health StudiesWashingtonUSA

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