AMA board members say recognizing obesity as a disease will change the way the medical community tackles the complex issue.
They hope it also helps doctors jump the hurdle in discussing weight issues with their patients.
More than half of obese patients have never been told to lose weight by their doctor.
Oklahoma is the sixth most obese state in the nation, according to Centers for Disease Control, with 31.1 percent of residents considered obese. The top five are Mississippi (34.9), Louisiana (33.4), West Virginia (32.4), Alabama (32) and Michigan (31.3).
More than one-third of US adults are obese.
Some of the illnesses related to obesity are heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer -- all preventable but potentially fatal.
According to the CDC, medical costs associated with obesity in 2008 were estimated at $147 billion. For an obese person, the medical costs were approximately $1,429 more expensive than those of normal weight.
Stay with KJRH.com for more on the AMA's decision tonight at 5 and 6 p.m.