Sometimes it’s hard to talk about weight and weight loss with your doctor. Many patients want help but don’t always know where to begin. Our approach is to acknowledge that obesity is not a character flaw: it’s a chronic disease. As primary care physicians, we aim to tackle this common health issue without shaming patients, creating a productive partnership for better health.
How Common Is Obesity and What Are the Health Risks?
One in three American adults and one in five children experience obesity, according to the CDC. Obesity-related health conditions cost our healthcare system a staggering $173 billion per year.
The CDC defines obesity as having a body mass of 30 or higher, while overweight is 25 to 30. Your body mass index is your weight divided by the square of your height. BMI is an essential screening tool but is only one element when considering weight-related health challenges. However, a high BMI can give us a good indication of when weight is reaching unhealthy levels. Health risks associated with obesity include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. According to the CDC, obesity also puts people at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and leads to poorer mental health outcomes and lower quality of life.
Can I Still Lose Weight If I Have Other Health Concerns?
Medical conditions and medications can impact our ability to lose weight. They can also make some diets dangerous. So it’s essential to develop your weight loss plan with support from a doctor. if you have an underlying condition. Your primary care practice is an excellent resource for weight loss for patients navigating chronic conditions. Health conditions that can make it more challenging to lose weight include:
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Hormonal changes in women, including puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
However, by working with your physician, you can develop a medically safe and effective weight loss program that meets your goals while respecting health-related boundaries.
What Are the Best Weight Loss Strategies?
For healthy individuals, lifestyle changes are the best way to lose weight – change habits in a healthy way rather than trying to lose weight fast.
- Focus on nutrition, emphasizing lean proteins and plenty of vegetables.
- Reduce sugar consumption and avoid sodas and sports drinks.
- Drink plenty of water. It provides a sense of fullness and reduces hunger while not adding calories.
- Engage in regular physical activity, including cardio activity which burns calories.
- Ensure you’re getting adequate sleep to keep your hormonal functions balanced.
- Prescription medications are an option for some patients with an obesity diagnosis.
- In severe cases, your doctor may recommend bariatric surgery, usually gastric sleeve or gastric bypass procedures, to produce dramatic weight loss.
How Can My Primary Care Doctor Help with Weight Loss?
Is obesity a concern? Are you overweight and concerned about preventing obesity? Your primary care physician can help you create a weight loss plan focusing on improving your health and well-being. She knows your health history and considers your health concerns and medications, offering guidance on diet, exercise and medications as needed. At PrimaPatient, helping our patients maintain a healthy weight is vital to preventive care. Dr. Ojha also specializes in chronic disease management, including diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions often associated with obesity. A wellness-centered weight loss program can help patients feel better and lead healthier lives. If obesity is a concern, start your journey to better health by scheduling an appointment with your primary care doctor.