Published on June 19, 2013

AMA now considers obesity a disease

Reported by: Erica Bennett, Action News

For the longest time, Tobi Bohm was overweight. When she was unhappy with her size, so she decided to change it in the fall of 2011.

"I was approaching 250 pounds and I wanted to lose weight. It was a struggle all the way around, whether it was Weight Watchers or doing it on my own," she explained.

Bohm received what doctors call the gastric sleeve. It involved removing part of her stomach, and she shed nearly 100 pounds. Now, she's transformed and living testimony that obesity is tough to deal with.

"When you get to that point, you need help. It's so hard. It's unbelievable," she continued.

On Tuesday, The American Medical Association officially recogized obesity as a disease. It affects millions in the U.S. It is labeled when your body mass index is over 30.

"There are as many people dying prematurely due to obesity as they are dying due to smoking," Dr. Miro Uchal said.

Obesity can also lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Uchal says calling it a disease is the right thing to do and will provide more treatment options.

Bohm agrees. She says taking control of her weight was the best thing she's ever done.

"So much more full of life and energy," she said with a smile.

Doctors say the best way to combat obesity on the forefront is by doing things the old fashioned way. Eating healthy, exercising and making good choices.