Obesity is a disease and worldwide public health crisis. It is defined as excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems and is typically caused by an imbalance in nutrition, when calorie intake that exceeds calorie expenditure. Health problems that arise from being overweight include hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and certain types of cancer.
The Obesity Healthcare Hub provides a sampling of Elsevier’s Clinical Solutions that focus on obesity education and the treatments for obesity. We hope you find this information helpful as you engage in discussions with your patients. There are plenty of resources about the trends in obesity, education and treatment, and I recommend visiting two resources that I have found to be useful on numerous occasions: the World Health Organization and the Center of Diseases and Control and Prevention websites.
Obesity is a preventable disease. As a registered dietitian and nutritionist, I feel obesity prevention starts with transformation within our cultures, communities, and families to offset this trend. Public health policy must support a healthy environment that supports safe outdoor play and physical activity along with access to plenty of nutritious foods, such fresh fruits and vegetables. Individual accountability plays a role as well.
Poor dietary choices start before adulthood. Early on, infants and young children are exposed to ultra-processed foods that are high fat and sweetened with sugars. This leads them to develop a taste preference for high calorie low nutrient dense foods. As their growth and development continues, the extra calories and poor dietary intake, plus a sedentary lifestyle, lead to obesity and other health problems.
When obesity is not prevented and there is a need for treatment, diet and exercise should be the first line in treatment. If diet and exercise alone are ineffective, comorbidities coexist, and the patient’s quality of health and life are impacted, additional treatments may need to be considered such as medication therapy or surgery. This transformation is very personal and must be viewed as a long-term commitment to overall health, rather than a quick diet to drop some pounds. This can be particularly challenging for those who have a genetic predisposition to more likely be obese than others.
To summarize, there are plenty of educational resources on obesity prevention and management. Data shows we are going in the wrong direction when it comes to preventing and managing this disease. We need to challenge mindsets within our communities to shift from processed food and constant sitting to a healthier lifestyle that includes better food choices, physical fitness and personal accountability.
Cheers to healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle!
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