Doctor's Notes on Obesity
Obesity is a result of the accumulation of excess fat on the body. 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. Obesity is considered a chronic disease that has serious long-term health consequences for overall health, and it is a leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S.
The main symptom of obesity is excess weight. Being obese can cause or increase the risk of other health problems including
- heart disease,
- high blood pressure,
- osteoarthritis (especially knee and hip joint pain, and lower back pain),
- lung disease,
- insomnia from sleep apnea and snoring,
- fungal rashes in skin folds,
- colon cancer,
- endometrial cancer,
- depression, and
What Is the Treatment for Obesity?
The treatment for obesity is weight loss. Lifestyle changes that can help with weight loss include:
- Healthy, balanced diet plans and lifestyles
- Low-carbohydrate diets
- Vegan/whole-food plant-based diet
- Mediterranean diet
- Intermittent fasting
- Regular exercise should be part of any weight loss plan
- Aerobic activity
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week
- A mix of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity works as well
- Exercise activity should perform at least 10 minutes at a time, preferably spread throughout the week
- Strength training
- 2 or more days per week
- Work all major muscle groups: legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms
- Repeat exercises for each muscle group 8 to 12 times per set
- Increase workout weight slowly as strength grows
- Behavioral modification
- Intensive psychological or behavior therapy
- Monitoring food intake by keeping a log or journal, physical activity, and controlling things in your environment that trigger eating
For people unable to lose weight with lifestyle changes and exercise, medical and surgical options include:
- Phentermine (Ionamin)
- Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
- Orlistat (Xenical); available in lower dose without prescription (Alli)
- Liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda)
- Naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave)
- Medical devices
- Electrical stimulation (vagal blockade) systems
- Intragastric balloon systems
- Gastric emptying (aspiration) systems
- Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery)
- Laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB)
- Gastric sleeve surgery (sleeve gastrectomy)
- Gastric bypass
Must Read Articles:
Obesity (Bariatric Surgery)A person is considered obese when they have a BMI of 30 or more. Surgical treatment of obesity is also known as bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery. Surgery is currently the most effective treatment for morbid obesity resulting in durable and sustainable weight loss and accompanying health improvements.
Obesity MedicationObesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Medications used to treat obesity work by suppressing the appetite. Prescription weight-loss medications should be used only under the care of a medical professional, and only by people who are at high risk of obesity-related health problems.
Weight LossObesity is simply the accumulation of excess body fat. It is much more than that, however. Obesity is a chronic (long-term) disease that is very difficult to treat. It takes 3,500 extra calories to gain 1 pound. To lose weight, you must eat 3,500 calories less than you need, say, 500 fewer calories per day for one week, to lose 1 pound.
What Are the Health Risks of Smoking vs. Obesity?Both smoking and obesity are leading contributors to illness and death in the U.S. Smokers have a greater risk of cancer heart attack, respiratory illness (emphysema, COPD, pneumonia), high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and aortic aneurysms. Obesity can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and depression.
What Is Considered Obese?When a person’s weight is higher than what is appropriate for their height, they are considered overweight or obese. A measure called the body mass index (BMI) is used is used to determine if a person is obese, but this formula is only a screening tool as it does not account for different builds. Bodyfat percentage is the gold standard for determining obesity.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.