Treating Obesity: What You Need to Know

Treating Obesity 101

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. Types of Treatment

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



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 8 Risks of Obesity



Why "Eat Less, Exercise More" is a Lie for the Morbidly Obese

When it comes to addressing obesity, a one-size-fits-all approach simply doesn't cut it, especially for those who fall into the category of being obese (BMI 35-39) or morbidly obese (BMI of 40+).

The oversimplified notion of "eat less, exercise more" can be a cruel and misleading mantra for individuals grappling with the complexities of this disease.

Obesity is not solely a matter of willpower or self-control; it is a multifaceted condition influenced by an array of factors, including genetics and various underlying health issues.

Obesity is not a condition one can simply "cure" through diet and exercise alone.

For those who are morbidly obese, these traditional methods may be insufficient in breaking the cycle of poor health.

Instead, comprehensive treatment approaches that consider the unique challenges and needs of individuals with obesity are crucial to improving their overall well-being.

By understanding the complexity of obesity and its multifaceted nature, we can better appreciate the importance of tailored and comprehensive approaches to help individuals on their journey towards improved health and well-being.

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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