Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument

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Standard

Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument. / Vallgårda, Signild; Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul; Hansen, Anne Katrine Kleberg; Ó Cathaoir, Katharina Eva; Hartlev, Mette; Holm, Lotte; Christensen, Bodil Just; Jensen, Jørgen Dejgård; Sørensen, Thorkild I.A.; Sandøe, Peter.

In: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71, 2017, p. 1263–1267.

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

Harvard

Vallgårda, S, Nielsen, MEJ, Hansen, AKK, Ó Cathaoir, KE, Hartlev, M, Holm, L, Christensen, BJ, Jensen, JD, Sørensen, TIA & Sandøe, P 2017, 'Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument', European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 71, pp. 1263–1267. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.103

APA

Vallgårda, S., Nielsen, M. E. J., Hansen, A. K. K., Ó Cathaoir, K. E., Hartlev, M., Holm, L., ... Sandøe, P. (2017). Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71, 1263–1267. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.103

Vancouver

Vallgårda S, Nielsen MEJ, Hansen AKK, Ó Cathaoir KE, Hartlev M, Holm L et al. Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017;71:1263–1267. https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.103

Author

Vallgårda, Signild ; Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul ; Hansen, Anne Katrine Kleberg ; Ó Cathaoir, Katharina Eva ; Hartlev, Mette ; Holm, Lotte ; Christensen, Bodil Just ; Jensen, Jørgen Dejgård ; Sørensen, Thorkild I.A. ; Sandøe, Peter. / Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease? A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument. In: European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017 ; Vol. 71. pp. 1263–1267.

Bibtex

@article{31478fa8a33f43b6b72ac15d9d27710d,
title = "Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease?: A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument",
abstract = "In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) decided to recognize obesity as a disease. One of the main arguments presented in favor of this was broadly ‘utilitarian’: the disease label would, it was claimed, provide more benefits than harms and thereby serve the general good. Several individuals and groups have argued that this reasoning is just as powerful in the European context. Drawing mainly on a review of relevant social science research, we discuss the validity of this argument. Our conclusion is that in a Western European welfare state, defining obesity as a disease will not on balance serve the general good, and that it is therefore more appropriate to continue to treat obesity as a risk factor. The main reasons presented in favor of this conclusion are: It is debatable whether a disease label would lead to better access to care and preventive measures and provide better legal protection in Europe. Medicalization and overtreatment are possible negative effects of a disease label. There is no evidence to support the claim that declaring obesity a disease would reduce discrimination or stigmatization. In fact, the contrary is more likely, since a disease label would categorically define the obese body as deviant.",
keywords = "Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, obesity, disease, stigma, utilitarian argument, medicalisation",
author = "Signild Vallg{\aa}rda and Nielsen, {Morten Ebbe Juul} and Hansen, {Anne Katrine Kleberg} and {{\'O} Cathaoir}, {Katharina Eva} and Mette Hartlev and Lotte Holm and Christensen, {Bodil Just} and Jensen, {J{\o}rgen Dejg{\aa}rd} and S{\o}rensen, {Thorkild I.A.} and Peter Sand{\o}e",
year = "2017",
doi = "10.1038/ejcn.2017.103",
language = "English",
volume = "71",
pages = "1263–1267",
journal = "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition",
issn = "0954-3007",
publisher = "nature publishing group",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Should Europe follow the US and declare obesity a disease?

T2 - A discussion of the so-called utilitarian argument

AU - Vallgårda, Signild

AU - Nielsen, Morten Ebbe Juul

AU - Hansen, Anne Katrine Kleberg

AU - Ó Cathaoir, Katharina Eva

AU - Hartlev, Mette

AU - Holm, Lotte

AU - Christensen, Bodil Just

AU - Jensen, Jørgen Dejgård

AU - Sørensen, Thorkild I.A.

AU - Sandøe, Peter

PY - 2017

Y1 - 2017

N2 - In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) decided to recognize obesity as a disease. One of the main arguments presented in favor of this was broadly ‘utilitarian’: the disease label would, it was claimed, provide more benefits than harms and thereby serve the general good. Several individuals and groups have argued that this reasoning is just as powerful in the European context. Drawing mainly on a review of relevant social science research, we discuss the validity of this argument. Our conclusion is that in a Western European welfare state, defining obesity as a disease will not on balance serve the general good, and that it is therefore more appropriate to continue to treat obesity as a risk factor. The main reasons presented in favor of this conclusion are: It is debatable whether a disease label would lead to better access to care and preventive measures and provide better legal protection in Europe. Medicalization and overtreatment are possible negative effects of a disease label. There is no evidence to support the claim that declaring obesity a disease would reduce discrimination or stigmatization. In fact, the contrary is more likely, since a disease label would categorically define the obese body as deviant.

AB - In 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) decided to recognize obesity as a disease. One of the main arguments presented in favor of this was broadly ‘utilitarian’: the disease label would, it was claimed, provide more benefits than harms and thereby serve the general good. Several individuals and groups have argued that this reasoning is just as powerful in the European context. Drawing mainly on a review of relevant social science research, we discuss the validity of this argument. Our conclusion is that in a Western European welfare state, defining obesity as a disease will not on balance serve the general good, and that it is therefore more appropriate to continue to treat obesity as a risk factor. The main reasons presented in favor of this conclusion are: It is debatable whether a disease label would lead to better access to care and preventive measures and provide better legal protection in Europe. Medicalization and overtreatment are possible negative effects of a disease label. There is no evidence to support the claim that declaring obesity a disease would reduce discrimination or stigmatization. In fact, the contrary is more likely, since a disease label would categorically define the obese body as deviant.

KW - Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

KW - obesity

KW - disease

KW - stigma

KW - utilitarian argument

KW - medicalisation

U2 - 10.1038/ejcn.2017.103

DO - 10.1038/ejcn.2017.103

M3 - Review

VL - 71

SP - 1263

EP - 1267

JO - European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

JF - European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

SN - 0954-3007

ER -

ID: 183857775