Assessing Changes in Healthcare Utilization among Various BMIs in the United States After the AMAï¾’s Decision in 2013 to Declare Obesity a Chronic Disease?



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In the past, obesity was often overlooked as many health professionals deemed it a consequence of faulty lifestyle choices, inadequate health education, and poor mental health. In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) declared obesity a chronic disease (Pollack). To further reduce the stigma surrounding obesity and gain more understanding of physician-patient interactions, this research project will answer the question モHow did the recognition of obesity as a disease in 2013 impact healthcare utilization, management of chronic health conditions, and health outcomes among those with high BMI?ヤ Answering this question allows physicians to improve patient outcomes by understanding the implication and correlation of obesity on healthcare utilization and allows for proper policy planning. By using publicly accessible data, this study will generate a regression analysis through STATA to evaluate the shift in healthcare utilization as a result of the designation of obesity as a disease. This study uses the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) and National Health Interview Surveys from 2000-2019 to document changes in the prevalence of obesity, lifestyle choices, chronic health conditions, mental health disparities, and healthcare utilization. Our findings indicate that between 2000-2019, the prevalence of obesity increased by approximately 13%. Overall, labeling obesity as a chronic disease has given people, particularly those in the overweight BMI category, better access to care. This conclusion points to the natural increase in access to healthcare, as well as the need for further research.