Overweight? You might need more than diet and exercise.


Did you know that being overweight is more than an issue of will power? Obesity, like diabetes or high blood pressure, is a disease as classified by the American Medical Association. There are genetic, environmental and behavioral factors that can lead to obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Obesity can cause or aggravate other medical problems, but unlike diabetes and high blood pressure, there is no pill to treat it.  Obesity can only be treated with adequate and sustained weight loss, which without the right education, counseling, and tools can be nearly impossible for many people.  

Medical problems that are worsened by obesity and that can in some cases be cured by weight loss include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, a variety of cancers, arthritis and more. As a result, life expectancy is decreased and can be as much as 15 years shorter in young people with obesity. Young women with obesity have a higher rate of infertility, miscarriages, and complications associated with pregnancy, placing both the mother and baby’s life at increased risk.  

It’s important to note that obesity has become an epidemic – more than 20 percent of our nation is struggling with being obese.  Worse still, obesity is a disease that is discriminated against on a daily basis. Patients are often judged for having poor self-control when in fact, if your BMI is over 35, diet and exercise alone aren’t sufficient when it comes to losing even half of your excess weight.  

There is good news in the form of new options for weight loss, both surgical and non-surgical, depending on how much weight you have to lose. Surgery is a more successful tool when you have more weight to lose (80-100 pounds or more) as well as when your BMI is over 30 and you have diabetes. Studies have shown that surgical options for weight loss are more successful than non-surgical options to help cure diabetes.  

Currently, most insurance companies will cover some dietary counseling for weight loss and surgical options for patients who qualify. If you have struggled with your weight and want to know more about your options to succeed, talk to your doctor or look into medical options for weight loss.