The Obesity Effect | Carson Tahoe Health

During the last century, the top causes of death have shifted from illnesses such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diarrhea in 1900 to chronic diseases that are complications of obesity, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in 2012.

Obesity—an excess of fat—contributes to an increased risk for chronic diseases, which are preventable if the root cause is addressed. More than one third of all adults in the United States are obese, and the prevalence of obesity in America’s children has tripled in the last 30 years.

“Prevention of childhood obesity begins in the womb with mothers who do not gain excessive weight during pregnancy,” says Quang Nguyen, DO, FACP, FACE, Endocrinologist with Carson Tahoe Physician Clinics. “Breastfeeding is recommended because those infants have a reduced risk for obesity as well as fewer health issues. Older children should be encouraged to eat breakfast daily, eat dinner with the family most days of the week, eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, engage in at least one hour of physical activity each day, and limit screen time to two hours daily.”

Challenges to our health
Researchers continue to examine the factors that contribute to obesity, but the crux of the problem is an imbalance in the consumption and usage of calories that can result in fat storage. According to the public health program The Weight of the Nation, a number of trends have contributed to the alarming increase in overweight and obese people:
» Added fats and sugars in the food supply
» Cheese consumption
» Corn production in the United States
» Living in the suburbs
» Meat consumption
» Television viewing

Ripe For Change
While our modern lifestyle contributes to the prevalence of obesity, the best approach to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is to exercise most days of the week and reduce overall calories consumed. Despite this, many people try adding exercise without changing their diet, trying the latest diet fad, or using medication to lose weight.

“In recent trials, the combination of diet and exercise was more effective than medication in preventing the onset of Type 2 diabetes,” says Carol Cheney, MD, FACP, Endocrinologist with Carson Tahoe Physician Clinics. “It’s an issue of lifestyle changes, not just a diet—learning to eat better and being active every day.”

A Lifelong Journey Begins With One Step
Healthcare providers can offer the answers you need to lose weight in a healthy way. Calculating your body mass index (BMI) can be a helpful starting point.

Divide your weight by your height squared and multiply the result by 703, or let the online BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute do the math for
you. The number will fall in the following ranges:
» less than 18.5—Underweight
» 18.5–24.9—Healthy weight
» 25–29.9—Overweight
» 30.0 and greater—Obese
“Because obesity is a multifactorial disease that is often lifelong, it is best to set realistic goals and maintain a steady pace,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Weight-loss medications should only be used as adjuncts to a sound diet and exercise regimen. Ask your healthcare provider if the diet and exercise changes you are considering can be maintained for life. If not, then they may not be the right solution for you.”

Challenge yourself and your family to adopt healthier behaviors, using free resources such as The Weight of the Nation documentary series.
These four films presented by HBO and the Institute of Medicine examine the “Consequences,” “Choices,” “Children in Crisis,” and “Challenges” facing Americans as the obesity epidemic continues. The documentary series was produced in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.

A New Generation of Diet Pills

Weight-loss medications can seem like a dream to those struggling with obesity, but not all of these products are safe. Because of the potential dangers of active ingredients, it is
important for consumers to discuss all over-the-counter medications with their healthcare providers to ensure its safety and effectiveness. After a 13-year break, there are two new
weight-loss medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride) is a first-in-class medication that binds to serotonin receptor 5HT2C to cause people to feel full and hopefully eat less. This medication
is scheduled for release in 2013.

Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate) is a combination of an approved stimulant and an anticonvulsant that work together to suppress appetite long term and are anticipated to be available in the fourth quarter of 2012.


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