Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
The foods we eat every day contribute to our well-being. Foods provide us
with the nutrients we need for healthy bodies and the calories we need for
energy. If we take in more calories than we burn, the extra food turns to fat
and is stored in our bodies. If we overeat regularly, we gain weight, and if we
continue to gain weight, we may become obese.
Obesity results from the accumulation of excess fat on the body. Obesity is considered a
chronic (long-term) disease, like high blood pressure or diabetes. It has many
serious long-term consequences for your health, and it is a leading cause of
preventable deaths in the United States (with tobacco use and high blood
pressure). Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater
than 30. The BMI is a measure of your weight relative to your height. See the Body Mass Index Calculator.
Obesity is an epidemic in the United States and in other developed countries. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, including at least one in five children. Nearly one-third are obese. Obesity is on the rise in our society because food is abundant and most of us are employed in positions that require little to no physical activity. On the bright side, recent data suggest that childhood obesity, while still high, may no longer be on the rise.
Each year, Americans spend billions of dollars on dieting, diet
foods, diet books, diet pills, and the like. Another $75 billion is spent on
treating the diseases associated with obesity. Furthermore, businesses suffer an
estimated $20 billion loss in productivity each year from absence due to illness
caused by obesity.
Treatment for obesity will be most successful if you create a long-term plan with your doctor. A reasonable goal might be to begin making lifestyle changes by increasing physical activity and limiting calories.
Your initial goal should be to improve your health, not to achieve an ideal weight. Although the "formula" for weight loss-- to burn more calories than you take in -- is not complicated, it is often hard to achieve and maintain. Along with lifestyle changes, medicines and surgery may be options for some people. The treatment you need depends on your level of obesity, your overall health, and your motivation to lose weight.