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Obesity & Weight Loss
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The state of being well above one's normal weight.

A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex and build.

Obesity has been more precisely defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and above. (A BMI of 30 is about 30 pounds overweight.)

The BMI, a key index for relating body weight to height, is a person's weight in kilograms (kg) divided by their height in meters (m) squared. Since the BMI describes the body weight relative to height, it correlates strongly (in adults) with the total body fat content. Some very muscular people may have a high BMI without undue health risks.

Obesity is often multifactorial, based on both genetic and behavioral factors. Accordingly, treatment of obesity usually requires more than just dietary changes. Exercise, counseling and support, and sometimes medication can supplement diet to help patients conquer weight problems. Extreme diets, on the other hand, can actually contribute to increased obesity.

Being overweight is a significant contributor to health problems. It increases the risk of developing a number of diseases including:

  • Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA)
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction or MI)
  • Heart failure (congestive heart failure)
  • Cancer (certain forms such as cancer of the prostate and cancer of the colon)
  • Gallstones and gall bladder disease (cholecystitis)
  • Gout and gouty arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) of the knees, hips, and the lower back
  • Sleep apnea (failure to breath normally during sleep, lowering blood oxygen)
  • Pickwickian syndrome (obesity, red face, underventilation, and drowsiness)

Standard of Care:

Physicians generally treat obesity with anything from a prescribed exercise and recommended meal plan, to medications such as Bontril SR (Phendimetrazine), Xenical (orlistat), to more invasive treatments such as Gastirc Bypass or Lap Bands. Your physician can recommend treatment options based on your individual needs and test results.


Alternatives to medication, diets and surgeries include:

  • Nutritional counseling
  • Nutritional meal planning
  • Raw food nutrition
  • Exercise regimens
  • Detoxification

If you’re looking to take a more nutritional approach to your weight, ACAM suggests consulting with a nutrition provider in your area. You can also take practical steps to empower yourself to change your eating habits, impulse selections and exercise programs.

  • Start a food journal.
  • Follow a hypoallergenic diet for one week. This means removing common allergens like eggs, dairy, gluten, peanuts, and soy, as well as any others you suspect from your diet — not necessarily forever, just long enough to see which (if any) of these might be a problem for you. Each of these can be eliminated for four to six days, then reintroduced over several days to see if there are any physical responses to the food. We also suggest that women start with the foods they crave the most, since cravings are often a signal that we’re sensitive to that food.
  • Consider a detoxification program to jump-start your efforts. Raw food diets or structured detox programs can help here.
  • Increase exercise sessions to 5 times per week, including 3 aerobic sessions with a target heart rate of 130–150 beats per minute for 45 minutes. Add 2 anaerobic sessions such as weight-training.
  • Add fitness activities to your free time, train for a "thon” i.e., walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, (Breast Cancer Walk, Alaska Ride or Livestrong Challenge).
  • If you have issues with emotional eating, get help from a professional. For referrals, check with your friends, religious organizations or healthcare provider.





The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.




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