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Obesity is a disease; it is not merely a condition resulting from a bad habit. You may not be able to define obesity, but you “know it when you see it”.

The math is simple. If you are 5-foot tall or less, you weight is to be 130 lb. or less. If you are 6-foot tall or less, your weight must be less than 170 lb. or less. Beyond that, you will be classified by you BMI (body mass index), a relation between your weight and your height. By this parameter, you enter one of these categories: overweight, obese, and morbidly obese.

Why is being fat (i.e. overweight or obese) a problem? Because fat kills you. When was the last time you saw an 85-year old obese patient? They don’t age to be very old. Obesity places you at risk for multiple diseases (and their complications) such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart diseases (and sudden death), lung diseases, arthritis, depression and all kinds of cancer.

Prevention of obesity is important. If you ever get overweight, it will be very difficult for you to revert to your earlier figures. Prevention consists in:

(1) Sweating daily through physical exercise (brisk walking, etc.) that lasts at least 30 minutes.

(2) Eating three regular meals a day, of normal portion (no large or extra-large)

(3) Avoiding snacks at all costs

(4) Banning sodas and non-fresh juices

(5) Eating poultry and fish, at the exclusion of red meat (beef, pork, lamb, etc.)

If you are already overweight or obese, you will have to adopt the above regimen, but you also will need to increase your exercise time to one (1) hour daily.

Due to the metabolic process underpinning obesity, you may not be successful, by yourself, to lose the extra weight. You may need to see a doctor that may try you on a medication to help you out. Just keep in mind that none of these pills is a magic wand. None of them is without side-effect.

If a regimen of diet, exercise and pill does not work, your doctor must refer you to a bariatric surgeon. Several different interventions are available to help the very obese patients (BMI more than 40). You may achieve up to 50% weight reduction over a 5-year span.

Just imagine that you pass from 300 lb. to 150 lb., you feel elegant and comfortable in your skin, and you are no longer at risk for a whole slew of diseases and early death.

Odler Robert Jeanlouie, MD

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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