Category Archives: Obesity
Groups and individuals fighting to eliminate the stigma associated with weight have made leaps and bounds over the past many years. This movement has likely helped millions of people overcome significant the mental health issues that surround the weight-based bullying that has increasingly plagued modern society both in the United States and around the world. One of the mantras used in the movement is that what we, medically, consider to be an unhealthy weight can exist alongside overall good health. The concept is that an overweight individual may not be at far greater risk of medical issues if they are exercising and practicing other healthy habits.
Obesity is a systemic disease. Not only does it affect our waistline, how we feel and what we do, but it can also contribute to a host of related diseases known as comorbidities. From diabetes and heart disease to gallbladder problems and even hernias due to added abdominal pressure, it affects every part of our lives. Obesity has even been linked to certain forms of cancer including esophageal cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
We often hear about the adult obesity rate in the United States because of the generally staggering numbers. In many southern states, we’ve hit close to 40% of the population suffering from obesity. As a result, the incidence of diabetes, colon cancer, esophageal cancer and more has increased dramatically as well. These numbers are even higher for Hispanic adults and African Americans.
The obesity trend continues to rise in the United States with exceptionally severe consequences. Along with the exponential rise in obesity over the past several decades, we have seen a commensurate rise in type-2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, esophageal cancer and the incidence or worsening of many other cancers including breast, uterine and prostate. Unfortunately, the standard advice on how to lose weight, diet and exercise, begins to lose effectiveness once the patient becomes obese. Indeed, only about 5 to 10% of all of these patients are able to lose weight and maintain that weight loss over the long-term using diet and exercise alone. For those other 90 to 95% of patients, life can continue with yo-yo dieting, binge eating and a great deal of frustration that goes along with it. Similarly, weight loss pills are merely temporary solutions that will allow patients to regain the weight once the pill is no longer being taken.
Please take the time to read a recent article from MedScape.com regarding Bariatric Surgery Tied to Lowered Risk of Colorectal Cancer.
Weight loss is hard. Even harder is keeping the weight off. There is a theory, known as the Set Point Theory, that some believe explain why our bodies fight weight loss and so easily regain weight after we have worked hard to lose it. While traditional thinking about how our bodies regulate weight have long said calories in versus calories out equals the balance of weight gain or loss, this very simplistic view does not account for many factors that contribute to how our body works. These factors include intricate systems and feedback mechanisms that allow for our body and brain to communicate.