Health Care Analysis 24 (1):86-100 (2016)

Abstract
Obesity has generated significant worries amongst health policy makers and has obtained increased attention in health care. Obesity is unanimously defined as a disease in the health care and health policy literature. However, there are pragmatic and not principled reasons for this. This warrants an analysis of obesity according to standard conceptions of disease in the literature of philosophy of medicine. According to theories and definitions of disease referring to internal processes, obesity is not a disease. Obesity undoubtedly can result in disease, making it a risk factor for disease, but not a disease per se. According to several social conceptions of disease, however, obesity clearly is a disease. Obesity can conflict with aesthetic, moral, or other social norms. Making obesity a “social disease” may very well be a wise health policy, assuring and improving population health, especially if we address the social determinants of obesity, such as the food supply and marketing system. However, applying biomedical solutions to social problems may also have severe side effects. It can result in medicalization and enhance stigmatization and discrimination of persons based on appearance or behavior. Approaching social problems with biomedical means may also serve commercial and professionals’ interests more than the health and welfare of individuals; it may make quick fix medical solutions halt more sustainable structural solutions. This urges health insurers, health care professionals, and health policy makers to be cautious. Especially if we want to help and respect persons that we classify and treat as obese.
Keywords Definition  Disease  Dysfunction  Normal  Deviance  Obesity
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10728-015-0291-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 63,360
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Social Construction of What?Ian Hacking - 1999 - Harvard University Press.
What a Theory of Mental Health Should Be.Christopher Boorse - 1976 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 6 (1):61–84.
Moral Theory and Medical Practice. [REVIEW]Grant Gillett - 1991 - Philosophical Quarterly 41 (164):379.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Line-Drawing Problem in Disease Definition.Wendy A. Rogers & Mary Jean Walker - 2017 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 42 (4):405-423.
Medicalization and Overdiagnosis: Different but Alike.Bjørn Hofmann - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (2):253-264.
A New Approach to Defining Disease.Mary Jean Walker & Wendy A. Rogers - 2018 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 43 (4):402-420.

View all 6 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Addicted to Food, Hungry for Drugs.Bennett Foddy - 2011 - Neuroethics 4 (2):79-89.
Is Obesity a Public Health Problem?Jonny Anomaly - 2012 - Public Health Ethics 5 (3):216-221.
Fat Stigma and Public Health: A Theoretical Framework and Ethical Analysis.Desiree Abu-Odeh - 2014 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24 (3):247-265.
Editorial Note.Megan Dean - 2014 - Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 24 (3):2-2.
The Obesity Epidemic: Medical and Ethical Considerations. [REVIEW]Jantina Vries - 2007 - Science and Engineering Ethics 13 (1):55-67.
Obesity and Health System Reform: Private Vs. Public Responsibility.Y. Tony Yang & Len M. Nichols - 2011 - Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 39 (3):380-386.
L'obésité et son traitement dans le monde romain.Danielle Gourevitch - 1985 - History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 7 (2):195 - 215.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2015-03-30

Total views
55 ( #193,612 of 2,448,854 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #444,630 of 2,448,854 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes