Majority of Danes believe obesity not a disease

Many believe obesity is about choice and lack of control

If you’re obese a majority of Danes believe it’s your fault and you should pay for your own treatment, reports Jyllands-Posten.

A new study from the University of Copenhagen asked more than 1,000 Danes for their opinions on who should carry the cost for treatment of a number of lifestyle diseases.

Only one-third of the respondents believed public money should be used in paying for obesity treatment, while the remaining two-thirds believed that obesity is a self-inflicted problem and therefore should be paid for by the individual.

Other conditions fare better
Interestingly, obesity is the only lifestyle disease that Danes came down on so hard. Two-thirds of respondents believe public funds should be used for the treatment of lung disease and emphysema and 86 percent support the public footing the bill for lung cancer treatment.

“The study shows a very clear element of moral condemnation against people who are obese,” professor Peter Sandøe, one of the researchers behind the study, told Jyllands-Posten.

Sandøe points out that obesity research shows strong links to genetic predisposition that contrast with popular beliefs that it is something totally under one’s control.

“It can be just as difficult for obese people to achieve permanent weight loss as it is for alcoholics to stop drinking or smokers to quit smoking,” he said.

Sandøe believes Denmark should recognize obesity as a disease.