A new criteria for rationing health care treatment proposes measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI) of an individual, and the Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO) is not happy with this step.
The ASO considers the decision taken by The Hertfordshire Valleys and The East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Groups to be discriminatory and believes that this approach may inadvertently increase the stigma associated with obesity.
Unfortunately, body composition, as measured by BMI, is commonly utilised without consideration of an individual's circumstances. The ASO does not accept the use of BMI as a broad means of health care rationing without considering the individuals' risks and benefits from the proposed treatment.
Even though, the ASO accepts that economic pressures influence the funding of treatment in the modern National Health Services, it also believes that obesity is caused by a complex interplay of factors including genetics, family, social and environmental circumstances and BMI cannot be a factor for determining health care treatment.
The association has called on the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to intervene in order to reduce this discrimination against and stigmatisation of people with obesity and tackle the underfunding of obesity services and research.
The Association for the Study of Obesity is a charity dedicated to the prevention and treatment of obesity.