ObesityObesity is a chronic disease. 2015 was the year where the Canadian Medical Association recognized obesity as a chronic disease. For decades, obesity was recognized as a risk factor to develop other complications such as diabetes and hypertension. It is an entity on its own, and it’s a chronic disease, because we all know—and everybody that’s tried dieting or losing weight does know that the battle is lifelong. Once we suffer from obesity, we have dis-regulation of several hormones, or even the neurobiology is modified. .
Obesity is an incredibly common health condition that occurs when a person has accumulated so much body fat that it can negatively affect their health. According to studies, nearly 30% of people worldwide are overweight or obese – it’s become an epidemic.
The Risks of Obesity
Many medical problems such as diabetes, stroke and heart attacks are associated with being overweight or obese. Obesity can also increase your risk of:
- Chronic back pain
- Sleep apnea
- Type 2 Diabetes
Here’s how medical experts determine if a person is overweight or obese:
- Bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight
- BMI of 30 or more is considered obese
Some of the most common reasons people become overweight and obese are consuming too many calories and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Other reasons include not sleeping enough and certain medications. Obesity treatment doesn’t solely involve losing weight.
One aspect to treatment is to change eating habits and increase physical activity. While crash diets are attractive in so far as they make the scale look better, they’re not the solution. Medically, you want to keep your weight down over many years to hopefully decrease the risks that are associated with obesity. Another medical concern about crash or fad diets is that rapid weight loss leads to siginicant muscle loss. Muscle mass effects metabolic rate, so following a crash diet that leads to muscle loss will lower the metabolism and make it more difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Inevitably, once the crash diet is finished and one returns to old eating habits this slowed metabolism leads to gaining weight and possibly gaining more weight than was initially lost.
For some people, diet and exercise aren’t enough for weight loss and other treatment aspects to obesity may include medication and/or surgery. Commonly prescribed weight loss medications include orlistat, phentermine, buproprion and naltrexone. Regular monitoring by a healthcare professional will be required with weight loss medications. If lifestyle changes and/or weight loss medications don’t work, bariatric surgery may be another treatment option.
It is essential to work closely with a healthcare provider to manage risks, other conditions and complications, and to measure progress of obesity treatment.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you’d like more information on obesity.
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Print this Action Plan and check off items that you want to discuss with your healthcare provider
Assess the lifestyle factors that could be leading or contributing to excess weight.
Determine my BMI and understand what the healthy weight range is for my body.
Choose and follow a diet plan that will support healthy weight loss and maintenance.
Create an exercise plan to increase regular physical activity.
Discuss medication options to support healthy weight loss.