The American Medical Association has formally recognized obesity as a disease. According to AMA board member Patrice Harris, MD, "Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans... The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity." The New York Times points out that while the decision has no legal authority, "Still, some doctors and obesity advocates said that having the nation's largest physician group make the declaration would focus more attention on obesity. And it could help improve reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery and counseling."