El Paso man loses 400 pounds in time to appreciate AMA's new definition of obesity


POSTED: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 10:47pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 5, 2013 - 6:04pm

Stepping on a scale is something routine for many of us during a doctor's visit, but for Willie Aguirre it's a 400 pound victory.
Three years ago Aguirre weighed more than 580 lbs.

"Pretty hard for me to walk, just do anything, to move around," said Aguirre.

He grew up as a kid loving fast food and before he knew it, as an adult, it all caught up with him.

"Food is so easy to get. It's easy. You go over with friends and family and they're like eat. Eat," said Aguirre.

Doctor Clapp, with Sierra Providence, says its part of our culture.

"The American culture does believe in fast food. We add sugar to about everything. We eat and when you combine that with the Hispanic culture. Tacos and burritos and all the good stuff, turns out its really not good for the body," said Clapp.

Aguirre's doctors warned him.

"You're not gonna live that long if you keep on doing what you're doing," said Aguirre.

So Aguirre got a gastric bypass, one of the many tools to weight loss. And now more people suffering from obesity may get more help along the way, now that the American Medical Association has declared it a disease.

"Increase access to healthcare to people who need it," said Clapp.

Many medical professionals believe it will result in more treatments for patients and better dialogue among patients, making doctor Clapp's work more effective.

"That's what gets you up to go to work everyday. I mean you have good days and bad days. But when you have those results and you see how they affect people's lives," said Clapp.

Aguirre says to get where he is wasn't easy. It's a lifestyle change.

"You really gotta want it first of all because it isn't easy. It's hard but it's well worth it,” said Aguirre.

 He says he feels like a new person.

"I'll live a lot longer now," said Aguirre.

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