In 2013, the American Medical Association recognized obesity as a disease. The decision had unintended consequences, among them that believing that it is a disease makes you more likely to eat high calorie food. The belief does help people to have a more positive body image, though.
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…new psychology research suggests the “obesity is a disease” message actually undermines important weight-loss efforts.
“The term disease suggests that bodies, physiology, and genes are malfunctioning. By invoking physiological explanations for obesity, the disease label encourages the perception that weight is unchangeable,” Crystal L. Hoyt of the University of Richmond and her colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in the April issue of Psychological Science.
In three separate studies with more than 700 participants, the researchers found that obese participants who read a New York Times article about the AMA declaring obesity to be a disease were subsequently less likely to be concerned about their weight and more likely to choose to eat higher-calorie foods.