KNOXVILLE, TN--(Marketwired - Feb 18, 2015) - Last year, the American Medical Association classified obesity as a disease. As obesity rates climb, the new classification can potentially have a major impact on the nation's approach to care for the millions of people in the U.S. who are affected by the condition. Dr. Stephen Boyce, a weight loss surgeon in Knoxville and head of the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery, says the AMA is just the latest organization to put obesity in its category of diseases, joining the World Health Organization, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, and others. "I thought it was appropriate that the AMA joined other major medical organizations in recognizing obesity as a chronic disease requiring medical management."

Dr. Boyce says he hopes the new classification will ultimately lead to better healthcare access for those with obesity. He says there seems to be somewhat of a weight bias in some cases when it comes to treating obesity, and that it should ultimately be covered like any other chronic illness. While some critics of the AMA's decision believe the new classification ultimately will lead to less focus on necessary dietary and lifestyle changes and more reliance on surgery or expensive drugs, Dr. Boyce says those concerns often come from those with a limited understanding of the physiology of obesity. "It is well established, for the severely obese individual, that behavioral modification and diet does not produce lasting weight loss."

Dr. Boyce notes that classifying obesity as a disease can potentially help patients with morbid obesity obtain life-changing care, giving them more convenient access to dietitians and surgical weight loss options that can give them the tools necessary to reduce serious risks to their health. With more and more influential and respected medical organizations reaching the conclusion that obesity is a disease, he says, the general way of thinking about the disease can be changed for the better and the barriers to care so often faced by those suffering from obesity can be diminished.

About Stephen G. Boyce, MD
Dr. Stephen G. Boyce is the founder of the New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery and the developer of Bari Life Bariatric Supplements. He has performed thousands of bariatric surgery procedures. In 2005, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (formerly known as the American Society for Bariatric Surgery) designated Dr. Boyce's practice as a Center of Excellence®. The New Life Center is nationally accredited by the MBSAQIP (Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program). Dr. Boyce's practice offers comprehensive weight loss surgery programs with treatment options including gastric bypass surgery, LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding, gastric sleeve surgery, and other procedures. He is available for interview upon request.

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Contact Information:

The New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery
Physicians Plaza I, Suite 305
Turkey Creek Medical Center
10810 Parkside Drive
Knoxville, TN 37934
(865) 694-9676

Rosemont Media
(858) 200-0044