We need to rethink more effective ways, other than physical activity, for obesity management and treatment. Here are a few of them.
Obesity remains America’s most formidable concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of adults who are obese in America has burgeoned to 200 percent over the past 40 years.
Most recent stats indicate that the obesity rate has topped 40 percent in 2020, signaling a growing obesity epidemic, putting millions of lives at stake.
“In the United States, the prevalence of obesity among adults has moved further away from the Healthy People 2020 goal of 30.5%“, according to a CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics report 2020.
Appallingly, 72 percent of Americans aged 20 and above are obese, according to CDC’s stats.
As more and more Americans struggle to manage their weight, the situation becomes even more complicated for healthcare professionals.
It has aggravated even further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has raised many other legitimate public health threats.
It is a proven scientific fact that the levels of hormonal activity and metabolic rates vary amongst individuals. Hence, effective treatment options for obesity must necessarily be customized according to individual characteristics.
More importantly, physical activity alone is not an effective treatment plan for weight loss.
Instead, there are a host of obesity management strategies that can be deployed to address this issue. These may range from behavioral modifications to cognitive therapies and pharmacological and surgical interventions in more complex cases.
Hence, an effective treatment plan calls for a balanced combination of physical activity with other strategic interventions to yield positive results.
Physical Activity And Obesity Management
“You can fight obesity through exercise alone” is a myth. While it does work for a handful of individuals, physical activity chiefly supports maintaining weight loss rather than catalyzing it.
Moreover, maintain highly intense exercise regimes is not practically possible for the majority of obese people.
Also, recent research on metabolic mechanisms behind weight loss has rendered isolated exercise obsolete for obesity management.
However, this does not rule out the importance of physical activity in the context of weight management.
Sitting for an extended period can negatively impact insulin resistance in the human body, but breaking up these periods with short walks can typically reduce insulin and glucose responses.
Similarly, physical activity helps increase the total energy expenditure and reduce fat around the waist as well as total body fat, which further aids in losing weight.
Hence, eating less and moving more can help in shedding a few of those extra pounds.
Moreover, physical activity also keeps people away from depression and anxiety, boosting their minds and motivating them to stick to their exercise regime.
Best Practices For Obesity Management
Incorporating the following best practices for obesity management can help you devise better obesity treatment plans for your patients:
1. Educate Patients
As a physician, you must educate your patients about the importance of physical activity. It can promote several positive health benefits, such as:
- Improved blood pressure;
- Better insulin resistance;
- Enhanced cardiovascular health;
- Improved lipoprotein levels;
- And overall improved efficiency of the brain functions.
Hence, it would be best if you create realistic expectations of weight loss results for your patients, based on their profiles and activity levels.
2. Expand Your Obesity Medicine Knowledge
While it is essential to educate your patients about obesity, associated risks, and possible treatment plans, it is equally crucial to be well-informed about the latest advancements in the field of obesity medicine.
You might want to check out the resources available with the Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) such as The Obesity Algorithm, Obesity Treatment Proficiency Badges, and the American Board of Obesity Medicine certification.
These resources can offer you informative insights into evidence-based approaches to obesity management.
3. Screening Patients For Associated Risks
While devising treatment plans for your patients, you must assess any other health problems that might be expected.
Calculating BMI is the first step in evaluating your patients’ health risks. A BMI of 30 and above signifies immense health risks.
Similarly, high blood pressure and diabetes are two of the most common diseases linked to obesity.
You might also want to suggest specific heart tests, such as electrocardiograms and other blood tests such as cholesterol, liver function test, thyroid, and others.
4. Offer Encouragement And Support
In the majority of the cases, patients begin their weight loss programs with great zeal and enthusiasm but tend to lose it over time.
As a medical practitioner, you must inspire positive behavioral changes amongst your patients, encouraging them throughout their weight loss journey.
You must help them learn their exercise levels, gradually increasing their intensity while offering constant support to their morale.
Maintaining The Healthy Weight
The ultimate objective of obesity treatment is to reach and sustain a healthy weight.
While this improves people’s overall health, it also reduces their risk of developing other complications related to obesity.
Hence, as a healthcare professional, you must gain insightful knowledge about obesity management, incorporate them into their practices, and help people lead healthier and better lives.