At this point it is irrelevant whether or not it is a disease, it has been classified as one. What concerns me is if this is going to affect scope of practice for personal trainers. We are not medical providers and working with a “disease” is outside of our scope of practice. This can be bad for us. On the other hand it could lead to standardizing our industry and allowing us to accept insurance payments. It’s tough to say where this will lead.
you started an interesting discussion.
I do not think that it will have much of an impact. Judging from many of the questions placed here on this forum, many personal trainers are already operating outside the scope of their practice. How many trainers truly have ‘apparently healthy’ clients? On the other hand, if those trainers operated strictly within their scope, many, many people would not have a trainer at all, and, left to their own devices, would probably be worse off. A lot of trainers now are getting physician’s approvals for those clients and dealing with them safely. Regrettably, there are some that do not; but I would venture to say that they are not safe for the ‘apparently healthy’ either.
I hope that the classification of ‘obesity’ as a disease will prompt ACSM to require a mandatory physician’s approval for those prospective clients.
I need to make an additional comment about Harris’ statement. For once I do not agree. Obesity is way more complex than simply saying that obese people made poor choices and that this will just provide them with a convenient excuse. I consider compulsive overeating an emotional problem that is probably the most difficult form of addiction to treat. People who have addictions to all the other substances one can get addicted to have one huge advantage: they can stop entirely from using it. People addicted to alcohol do not dare to have even one drink for fear to start the whole process over.
Now look at the situation with food. Not eating is not an option. Not only do people have to navigate their eating behavior, they are at the same time bombarded with messages telling them just the opposite of what they need to do. Yes, there are some that are able to battle those demons. But there are many who are not, and I am not one to cast the first stone.
While I agree with you whole-heartedly on the subject of obesity being more complex and lean towards addiction as well. I have posted on this else where. I cannot agree with you on the acceptance of trainers playing out of their scope of practice all the time. It’s not right! It shouldn’t happen! It’s part of the problem! All it does is confuse EVERYONE, especially the clients! I don’t have only apparently healthy individuals as clients but I am an HFS who is qualified to deal with special populations and clients with medically controlled disease… along side doctors. I interact with doctors when it comes to my diseased clients. We send notes back and forth in many cases. I have to say it…if making obesity a disease holds trainers accountable more and helps build relationships between doctors, psychologists, nutritionists and qualified trainers and garners results that stop the rise in obesity rates…then I am happy about it.
Interesting topic and opinions :-). Here are some articles from the IDEA Fitness Journal:
Hello Joanne Duncan-Carnesciali,
I am glad that I studied ACE Health Coach to have more in depth knowledge when working with the obese and their physicians.
This will force us to be in closer contact with the clients’ doctors.
By the way, what degree of obesity draws the line for disease status?
Maybe this will help decrease the amount of comorbidities.