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AMA calls obesity a disease, opposes marketing/sale of energy drinks to kids

The American Medical Association, the nation's largest organization of physicians, announced Wednesday that it had adopted policy to recognize obesity as a disease requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment and prevention.

“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D.in a news release.

“The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity,” she said.

The AMA also adopted a policy supporting a ban of the marketing of high stimulant/caffeine drinks to adolescents under the age of 18. The AMA noted that stimulant drinks have surged in popularity in recent years, especially among high school and college students, and health advocates are concerned about the use of these drinks among adolescents due to excessive amounts of caffeine.

The FDA is continuing to investigate reports of illness, injury or death of people who drank products marketed as “energy drinks” or “energy shots,” the AMA added.

“Energy drinks contain massive and excessive amounts of caffeine that may lead to a host of health problems in young people, including heart problems, and banning companies from marketing these products to adolescents is a common sense action that we can take to protect the health of American kids,” said AMA board member Dr. Alexander Ding.