Obesity now labeled as a disease according to the American Medical Association

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - One third of Americans are now classified as "sick" with the disease of obesity.

Obesity is an issue that affects 90 million Americans, but a new decision could change the way doctors and insurance companies treat and cover obese patients.

The saying is no longer "I am obese." To the American Medical Association, one third of Americans "have obesity."

The group voted on the new policy that will change the way doctors address obesity.

Dr. Steve Lauer at KU Medical Center says this could help patients and their doctors tackle the serious problem.

"It really does have a serious health impact for children as we move forward and for adult Americans as well," Lauer said.

According to the CDC, it's childhood obesity that has more than doubled in the past 30 years.

And because old habits die hard, Mallory Cage wants to teach her three daughters about health, so it stays with them for life.

"When my kids were little, we always stressed healthy snacks. And now my 10-year-old will grab an apple as her first snack. I do think showing kids what healthy snacks are -- what healthy foods are -- when they're young can stick with them," said Cage.

The AMA's announcement could increase funding for research and doctors who want to talk to patients about nutrition and exercise.

"Years ago, we didn't talk to parents about a 1-year-old who was just a chubby baby. It was 'They're fine; they'll grow out of it. It's baby fat. We started now, earlier than that, trying to keep their weights at a healthy range," Lauer said.

Currently, obesity-related health care expenses cost Americans around 200 billion dollars per year.

However, this is just a declaration by the AMA. It doesn't require doctors, hospitals or insurance providers to make any changes.

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