American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Declares Obesity a Disease State

Friday, July 29, 2011 9:23 am EDT


"We are witnessing the global epidemic of obesity accelerating progression to diabetes and CVD and reversing the reduction in heart disease which we witnessed in the late 20th Century"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has declared that there is significant clinical evidence to declare obesity as a disease state. The decision was made in a unanimous vote of the AACE Board of Directors at their quarterly meeting, July 23, in Dallas, TX. The Association believes that the declaration will help lead the way for more effective therapies and treatments to help the 34 percent of Americans currently suffering with obesity.

The vote was the result of a report from an AACE Task Force on Obesity, chaired by AACE Vice-President, Alan Garber, MD, PhD, FACE and W. Timothy Garvey, MD, Professor and Chair, Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The Task Force reviewed available clinical data and determined that there is sufficient data to suggest that obesity is not just a condition, but is actually a disease state.

"Whereas obesity was formerly viewed largely as the consequence of consistently poor lifestyle choices, sufficient evidence has accumulated to implicate a number of heterogeneous hormonal and regulatory disorders in the pathogenesis and progression of the obese state,” said Dr. Garber. “Thus, multiple therapeutic interventions may be necessary lifelong to delay or reverse obesity in patients. Certainly, current efforts have not prevented the proliferation of obesity in the US population as well as elsewhere. Additional interventions and alternative approaches are clearly necessary."

This is not the first time AACE has taken the lead in calling for recognition of the metabolic consequences medical conditions. In 2003, the Association published a position statement defining Insulin Resistance metabolic syndrome as risk for Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Current AACE President Yehuda Handelsman, MD, FACP, FACE, FNLA participated in that Task Force, as well as the current Task Force on Obesity.

“We are witnessing the global epidemic of obesity accelerating progression to diabetes and CVD and reversing the reduction in heart disease which we witnessed in the late 20th Century,” said Dr. Handelsman. “AACE has already included obesity in its strategic plan to combat diabetes. Recognizing the endocrine hormonal roots of Obesity, AACE has vowed to be in the forefront of the clinical management of obesity and its dire consequences.”

As a result of the declaration of obesity as a disease state, AACE plans to develop resources for the various modalities of obesity management, including behavioral, nutritional, pharmacological and surgical. These efforts will be part of a comprehensive campaign which will include sociopolitical, public, and educational outreach. Additionally, AACE will interact with other professional medical societies and the FDA regarding obesity research and the consideration of anti-obesity drugs and their approval pathways.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-third of all Americans are obese. The condition, as it is currently defined, is indicated by a Body Mass index greater than 30. CDC data shows that more than 12.5 million children and adolescents, ages 2-19, are also obese. Obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with an estimated $147 billion dollars in associated medical costs per year.

About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 6,500 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
Bryan Campbell, 904-353-7878
Director of Public, Media and Industry Relations