Obesity is defined as having excess body fat. Carrying around extra body fat puts a person at risk for major chronic illnesses like heart disease, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Even modest weight loss is enough to lower health risks and improve how that person feels.
Weight management specialists use BMI as a measuring stick for obesity and the risk factors that come with it. A BMI, or body mass index, of more than 29 or 30 percent leads to a diagnosis of obesity in most cases. A high BMI along with a large waist circumference are diagnostic criteria for obesity but the doctor will also take into consideration the patient’s muscles mass, overall health, and certain blood tests like cholesterol and liver function.
There is more to obesity than just lifestyle choices and diet. Genetics plays a big role in how the body stores fat, for example – this is why obesity tends to run in families. Family lifestyle and how a person is raised matters, as well. If a patient comes from a family with an unhealthy diet, they grow into that bad habit. There are often social and economic issues at play, too. Low-income families don’t have access to fresh vegetables and fruit because they are more expensive and that causes weight problems.
As part of a health care plan, the doctor may recommend medically supervised weight loss to keep the patient on track and improve his or her odds of success. With a medically supervised weight loss program, the patient gets nutritional support and a structured exercise plan based on their current level of fitness. The obesity specialist monitors the patient’s progress carefully and makes adjustments when necessary.
Anyone at risk for chronic illness due to weight will likely benefit from this care plan. Patients that have unsuccessfully attempted weight loss on their own or who have trouble keeping the weight off may do better with a supervised program.
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