Today is the perfect day to reevaluate your health and wellness goals. Often, these goals begin with losing weight. Steward Health Care Bariatric Surgeon, John Hwang, MD, is here to help answer commonly asked questions about weight loss strategies.
What does it mean to be overweight or obese?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of all American adult men and women are obese. Weight that is higher than what is considered as a healthy weight for a given height is described as overweight or obese. To determine if someone is overweight or obese, we use body mass index, or BMI, as a screening tool. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. If a person’s BMI is between 25 and 30, they are considered overweight. A BMI of 40 or higher puts someone in the morbidly obese range. You can find easy BMI calculators online.
Are there other health conditions associated with being morbidly obese?
People who are morbidly obese are more prone to many chronic health conditions, including stroke, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, gallstones, cirrhosis, degenerative joint disease and diabetes. However, studies show that losing just five to 10 percent of your body weight can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce your diabetes risk, and will most likely result in living longer.
In addition to diet and exercise, what are some other weight loss strategies?
There are non-surgical medical weight loss options, such as medications, meal replacement programs, nutritional counseling, and behavioral therapy. For those who have tried diet and exercise and haven’t been successful in losing weight, surgical weight loss options are available for individuals who qualify.
What is involved with weight loss surgery?
Weight loss (bariatric) surgery involves reducing the size of the stomach or redirecting part of the lower intestine, or both. The surgery requires a lifelong change in diet and exercise habits in order to lose weight and keep it off. Types of weight loss surgery include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy (also called gastric sleeve) and LAP-BAND®.
Who can qualify for weight loss surgery?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), you may qualify for weight loss surgery based on the following criteria: you are 18 years or older; have a body mass index of 40 or greater; or a BMI of 35 or greater with related medical problems. Also, you may qualify if you have failed supervised diets and lifestyle changes; demonstrate the ability to lose weight during the preoperative evaluation process; don’t have psychiatric or substance abuse problems; and are ready to make the commitment to permanent lifestyle changes.
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