On June 18, the American Medical Association (AMA) classified obesity as a disease that could receive medical treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 18 percent of children age two through nineteen and 35.7 percent of adults are “obese.” As obesity rates have risen dramatically in the past 20 years, many organizations have become involved in working to educate and prevent obesity as well as assist individuals who are looking for help when it comes to losing weight.
In a statement that appeared in a Today Health article by the AMA, the organization explained, “More widespread recognition of obesity as a disease could result in greater investments by government and the private sector to develop and reimburse obesity treatments.”
So how does this affect talent managers?
The AMA noted that, “Employers may be required to cover obesity treatments for their employees and may be less able to discriminate on the basis of body weight.” This means that the Americans with Disabilities Act may (may being the important word here) also protect those with weight issues as it, “provides a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities.” Additionally, this AMA decision could (again, could being the important word here) mean that insurance companies and organization will be required to pay for assistance with weight loss. More on the topic of discrimination and coverage will continue to appear as well as definitive rulings on what is and isn’t covered under law.
For more on ADA and its impact, you can check out past K-12 Talent Manager blogs like “What Should Districts Know About the Americans with Disabilities Act?” or “ADAAA Having Major Impact Five Years Later.”
Reminder: This post does not contain legal advice. Organizations should always contact their legal counsel and ensure that their decisions are made within the limits of the law.
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