Obesity Treatment in Weirton, WV

Obesity is a rapidly expanding problem in the United States. Current research suggests that over 127 million Americans are overweight, and over 35% of Americans are obese. This means three out of every five Americans are either overweight or obese and the percentages have doubled over the past 20 years. In the United States, up to 300,000 deaths per year can be linked to obesity.

Morbid obesity was originally defined as any individual weighing twice their ideal body weight or greater than 100 pounds over their ideal body weight. The current definition of obesity is based on body mass index (BMI) which is a mathematical formula that compares a person’s height and weight. A value less than 25 kg/m2 is considered “normal”. Overweight individuals are classified as having a BMI between 25 and 30 kg/m2. Obese patients have a BMI over 30 kg/m2 and individuals who are morbidly obese have a BMI over 40 kg/m2. It is now estimated that over 12 million Americans are morbidly obese.

Causes of Obesity

The causes of obesity are multiple and complex and are related to different genetic, environmental, cultural, socioeconomic and psychological influences. It is not simply a result of overeating. Studies have demonstrated that once the problem is established, efforts such as dieting and exercise programs have a limited ability to provide effective long-term relief.

GENETIC FACTORS

Obesity tends to run in families, suggesting a hereditary cause. There are numerous studies that show genes play a role in the tendency to gain excess weight. Just as some genes determine eye color or height, others affect metabolism, appetite, satiety (ability to feel full), fat-storing ability, and our natural activity levels. However, family members share not only genes, but also diet and lifestyle habits.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Environmental factors deal with a person’s lifestyle behavior. Some examples are what a person eats and how active he or she is. Americans tend to have high-fat diets, often putting taste and convenience ahead of nutritional content when choosing meals. Sedentary lifestyles also contribute greatly to obesity. These factors combined with a genetic predisposition to morbid obesity can make controlling weight much more difficult.

PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS

There can often be psychological factors which contribute to weight gain. Some people use eating as a negative response to sadness, anger or even boredom. Other individuals have difficulties with binge eating where they eat large amounts of food and are unable to control how much they are eating. These problems can often lead to great difficulty in achieving and sustaining weight loss. Some individuals will need counseling or medication to help successfully control binge eating or depressive symptoms.

OTHER CAUSES

In addition to the above, obesity can sometimes be caused by certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or certain neurologic diseases. Some types of antidepressants, steroids or other medications can also cause excessive weight gain. These causes can be detected by your doctor and it is estimated that they only account for about one percent of all cases of obesity.

Why Lose Weight?

Obesity is directly harmful to a person’s health. Studies show that someone who is obese is twice as likely to die prematurely a non-obese individual. The risk of death from diabetes or heart disease is five to seven times greater. There is a direct association between the degree of obesity and the development of medical problems, with an exponentially increased risk of death from comorbid conditions as the body mass index increases. Agencies such as the US Public Health Service now consider obesity as serious as tobacco in contributing to increased health problems.

Obesity is a risk factor for many serious, life-threatening diseases, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea/Hypoventilation (breathing disorders)
  • Heartburn or reflux disease High Cholesterol
  • Cancer – esophagus, colon, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidney, stomach, prostate, breast, uterus, cervix, ovaries

Obesity also contributes to many other medical conditions including:

  • Infertility/ menstrual irregularities
  • Degenerative Joint Disease / Debilitating arthritis
  • Gallbladder disease and gallstones
  • Depression
  • Urinary Stress Incontinence

There are also physical limitations to obesity. Patients have complained about the inability to:

  • Go to the movies
  • Sit on a plane or bus seat
  • Use a seat belt
  • Fit through a turnstile
  • Play/pick up children
  • Maintain adequate hygiene
  • Buy stylish clothes

In addition, obesity has other potential consequences. The psychological toll can be tremendous as obese individuals deal with repeated failures with dieting, limited access to public conveniences, prejudice and even ridicule. The rate of depression in the morbidly obese is increased tenfold what it is in the non-obese population. Obese individuals often face discrimination at work. This unfair reality can affect hirings, promotions and perceptions about overall job performance.

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