A stunning 73 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese. Being overweight is a medical issue that can increase your chance of suffering from:
- Coronary heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cancer (endometrial, breast, and colon)
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Liver and gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis (a degeneration of cartilage and its underlying bone within a joint)
- Gynecological problems such as infertility
With the rising rate of obesity and the medical issues that result from being overweight, we are seeing an increase in the number of physicians playing a role in treating this disease. Physicians have been successful in helping patients with lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and blood pressure control, and this success is mirrored by physicians helping their patients with weight loss and weight maintenance. There are several reasons why people who need to lose weight should seek medical and professional assistance.
Anyone interested in losing weight should understand their current health. A physician can do a thorough evaluation that includes a comprehensive blood panel, EKG, weight and body fat analysis, waist circumference, and a detailed review of your medical and health history. This evaluation is a key component of any weight loss program as it will not only provide details on your current health, but provide a point from which you can measure your success.
Chances are if you are overweight, you are suffering from one or more of the health concerns mentioned earlier, and you may be on one or several medications. When on a weight loss program, you may experience changes in your blood pressure as well as heart and respiratory rates. Weekly monitoring by a physician can help track these changes and monitor you for appropriate adjustments in your medication.
Studies have shown that the doctor-patient relationship provides several opportunities to encourage behavior change and reinforce positive changes, including improved dietary practices, increased activity, and weight loss maintenance. Programs that encourage weekly visits with a physician also will provide accountability and continual support to assist you in losing weight as well as education and programs to help you maintain your weight loss and wellness for a lifetime.
NIH, NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. Retrieved from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/ob_gdlns.pdf.
Green L.W. (1986). Prevention and health education. Public Health and Preventive Medicine. East Norwalk, Conn.: Appleton-Century-Crofts.