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Featured in the Daily News - Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Obesity is a serious and growing problem in the United States, and is considered a chronic disease that is on the rise. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that about six out of 10 Americans, including 1 out of 5 children, are either overweight or obese. Furthermore, the prevalence of obesity almost doubled from about 15 percent in 1980 to 27 percent in 1999.
Obesity occurs over time when you eat more calories than you use. The balance between calories-in and calories-out differs for each person. Factors that might tip the balance include your genetic makeup, overeating, eating high-fat foods and not being physically active.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including the following: hypertension, dyslipidemia (for example, high total cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides) type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and respiratory problems as well as some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
According to Julie Patel-Pannullo MD, Co-Medical Director of the Queens Long Island Medical Group Jamaica Estates Medical Office, “Currently the most effective treatment methods for obesity, combine nutritional education as well as diet and exercise. In addition, we recommend counseling with behavioral strategies. The aim is to help our patients acquire the skills and supports necessary to change their eating patterns and become physically active.”
Some additional tips that may be helpful in battling obesity include, eating slowly and chewing your food well, which helps you feel satisfied with less food. Remember that monitoring the amount of food you eat is more important that the type of food you eat. Think portion control, familiarize yourself with appropriate serving sizes, and measure and weigh foods accordingly. Keep a record of when you eat, what you eat, and how much. This will help you spot situations in which you tend to overeat. Never skip meals, especially breakfast. You will just be hungrier and more likely to overeat at the next meal. You can also reduce your appetite by drinking at least 1 glass of water 30 minutes before each meal.
Dr Patel-Pannullo noted that, “Recently, a number of drugs have been approved for weight loss by the Food and Drug Administration. These drugs can produce modest weight loss which can be sustained for at least 2 years if the medication is continued. However, the adverse effects of these medications are not tolerated by all. We recommend that pharmacological treatment of obesity be used only as part of a comprehensive program to treat obesity.”
Dr Pannullo went on to say that, “As a last resort surgical interventions such as gastric bypass or banding are available. These procedures carry high risks and are reserved for morbidly obese patients with co-morbidities such as diabetes and hypertension and have failed all other treatment options.”
In order to assess your weight relative to your height you would use the Body Mass Index (BMI) which is used by many primary care providers to identify obesity. The greater your BMI, the higher your risk of developing health problems related to excess weight. To calculate your body mass index, follow these steps: Multiply your weight in pounds by 703, then divide by your height in inches and finally divide this by your height in inches again.
Obesity has many serious long-term consequences for your health, and it is the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States (tobacco is the first). If you or anyone you know suffers from obesity please ask them to seek help from a physician.
Come visit the Queens Long Island Medical Group for all of your health care needs. For more information visit us on the web at QLIMG.com or call us at 1-877-75Q-LIMG (757-5464).
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