What is obesity?
Obesity is defined as having an excess amount of body fat. Obesity can lead to a host of medical risks including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, and some cancers. Combined with obesity, these diseases may lead people to have a lower quality of health. In some cases, these can lead to disability or early death.
Obesity is considered a multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component. Acting upon a genetic background are a number of hormonal, metabolic, psychological, cultural and behavioral factors that promote fat accumulation and weight gain.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O.), along with National and International medical and scientific societies, now recognize obesity as a chronic progressive disease resulting from multiple environmental and genetic factors.
Obesity is often measured by your Body Mass Index (BMI) which is determined by dividing your weight by your height. An adult with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese. Calculate your BMI.
What Causes Obesity?
There are many causes that directly and indirectly contribute to obesity. Behavior, environment and genetics are among the main contributors to obesity.
What are the Treatments?
It is important to realize that obesity is a chronic condition much like diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, there are no quick fix treatment strategies. It is important that you work with your doctor(s) and to discuss the right treatment plan for you. Treatment strategies for treating obesity include:
Modifying certain behaviors and habits can help you make lifestyle changes that will help you lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Physical active is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Individuals who are physically active tend to live longer and have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) and muscle-strengthening activities (i.e. lifting weights, sit-ups, lunges) 2 days a week.
Reducing calories and practicing healthier eating habits are important in preventing and overcoming obesity. Avoid drastic and unrealistic diet changes. There is no best weight-loss diet. Choose a diet that includes healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole-grain carbohydrates, and lean protein - beans, lentils, soy, and lean meats.
Prescribed Weight-loss Medication
Your doctor may recommend a weight-loss medication if other methods of weight loss haven’t worked (i.e. diet and exercise). There are several medications approved by the FDA for weight-loss including orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), phentermine and topiramate (Qsymia), buproprion and naltrexone (Contrave), and liraglutide (Saxenda).
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight-loss surgery, is an option for those with severe obesity. Bariatric surgery limits the amount of food you are able to eat, decreases the absorption of food and calories, or both.