Treating Obesity: What You Need to Know

Why Treating Obesity Is so Important

There are so many reasons why treating obesity is important. People who live with obesity have higher risks of heart disease, higher risk of mental health issues and are at risk of other health issues like sleep apnea and high blood pressure. 

Here we present information on obesity and how you can prevent it. 

What's in the Guide? 

1. Obesity and Mental Health

2. It's a Disease

3. Risks and Treatment

4. Prevention

5. Types of Treatment

6. Find Help

On Our Mental Health and Obesity

As we all know, in our American society, people with obesity experience discrimination and weight biases.

Obesity is not just about maintaining a healthy weight. It's also about the extra stress and feelings associated with weighing more and not fitting into the “socially acceptable” body image.

This adds stress, depression, anxiety, and other forms of psychological distress, which can ultimately contribute to more weight gain. These feelings can make it difficult to face problems head-on and persistently follow a treatment plan.

Stigma and shame surrounding obesity can be significant barriers to seeking treatment and achieving successful outcomes. Addressing these issues and the physical aspects of being overweight is critical. Read more about what to do with your mental health and obesity here.

Obesity and Mental Health

 


 

Experts Say It's a Disease

It’s often seen as a matter of personal choice or being lazy. However, the truth is that obesity is a complex disease.

In 2013, the American Medical Association formally recognized obesity as a disease.

This means it has identifiable symptoms, harmful effects on the body and underlying causes that can be treated through medical intervention.

Understanding this designation can help challenge the negative beliefs about weight and give people hope for successful treatment.

When something is designated as a disease, it becomes a bigger problem than mere willpower. It doesn’t mean you are weak or a bad person.

It simply means that you have something that affects you more than others, and treatment can help.

On The Disease of Obesity

 


 

Risks of Untreated Obesity

Obesity is also linked to early death. According to the CDC, obesity can shorten life expectancy by up to 7 years for men and 6 years for women.

The risks associated with obesity include:

  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Joint pain and immobility
  • Breathing problems
  • Sleep apnea
  • Infertility and pregnancy complications

 


 

Medical Conditions Associated with Obesity

In addition to the risks mentioned above, obesity can also lead to conditions such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Certain types of cancer, including breast, uterine, colon, kidney, and pancreatic cancers
Read more about Risks and Treatment

Treatment and Prevention of Obesity

Obesity treatment can include lifestyle changes, medication, and weight loss surgery.

Lifestyle changes involve developing healthy eating habits and increasing physical activity. This often includes working with a dietitian or nutritionist to create a balanced meal plan and setting achievable exercise goals.

Medication may be necessary to help improve weight loss or manage health conditions related to obesity.

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, may be necessary for those with a BMI of 40 or higher or for individuals with a BMI of 35 and above who have weight-related health problems. This type of surgery can help aid in significant weight loss by reducing the size of the stomach or causing malabsorption of food.

It's important to note that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix and still requires lifestyle changes and ongoing medical monitoring. It also has potential risks and complications like any other surgical procedure.

On Prevention

There are steps that we can take to prevent obesity from developing in the first place. These include maintaining a healthy diet and physical activity, avoiding sedentary behaviors, and managing stress and emotions.

It's also important to create a supportive environment and teach children about the importance of healthy habits for their future well-being.

The Bottom Line

Obesity is a serious disease that can significantly negatively impact health and well-being. It's important to understand the risks, take preventative measures, and seek help for treatment if necessary. Remember, treating obesity involves more than willpower; it requires medical intervention and support.

Find a Provider

If you or someone you know is struggling with obesity, it's important to seek help from a healthcare provider. They can assess your individual needs and create a personalized plan for treatment and prevention.

Your primary care provider or specialist, such as a dietitian or endocrinologist, can help address obesity and its related health concerns. Find a healthcare provider near you here.

Treating obesity is vital for improving overall health and quality of life. Don't hesitate to seek help and support from healthcare professionals.

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