Obesity is a chronic disease that has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Ironically, the U.S. spends on obesity and its consequences twice as more, as the entire world spends on fighting hunger. If no effective measures are taken, by 2030, Americans will spend about 960 billion dollars on overweight associated medical care. And this is about 1/20 of the U.S. debt projected for 2014.
Given the fact that most insurance companies do not cover the obesity treatment costs, overweight person should choose the most effective, safe and inexpensive weight loss program.
Many weight loss programs are designed in the world today. Obesity is a chronic disease, which explains, why so many weight loss programs are not effective in the long run.
Diet and healthy nutrition in obesity
Obese people can effectively reduce their weight, using a low calorie diet. Reducing calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 per day will help reduce body weight by 1-2 pounds per week. For some obese people very low-calorie diets can be recommended.
Very low-calorie diets generally mean consuming food with a content of between 400 to 800 calories per day. Food at very low-calorie diets should be high in protein and low in fat.
Obese people need a correct and healthy diet. Keeping to a healthy eating plan, obese people will receive all the necessary nutrients each day. A healthy eating plan includes enough calories for normal body functioning, but not as much, as to result in weight gain.
Healthy eating involves reducing the consumption of foods containing sugar, saturated fats, salt, trans fats and cholesterol.
In obesity treatment, it is recommended to eat:
- Fresh fruit (as well as dried, frozen or canned)
- Dairy products with a low fat content (such as skim milk, yogurt and cheese).
- Unsalted nuts (walnuts and almonds)
- Protein containing foods (beans, peas, meat, fish and poultry)
- Olive and some vegetable oils (in limited quantities)
- Whole grains.
Behavior modification in obesity
Obese people should change food related habits. They should also change their everyday physical activity. First of all, an obese person should determine what habits lead to overeating and sedentary lifestyle.
The second step in behavior modification involves changing the habits that led to obesity.
Some tips to help get rid of bad habits.
- You should set realistic weight loss goals in the short and long-term perspective.
- Achieving short-term goals with weight reduction should be accompanied by a small gift (eg, movies, music CD).
- Obese patients are advised to seek support from friends and family members.
Physical activity in obesity
Increased physical activity may lead to an acceleration of weight loss. Even a short 20 – 30 minutes walk a day will accelerate the obesity treatment.
Daily physical activity will lead to a change in metabolism and increase calorie intake.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park the car farther from your work place
- Use a bicycle
- Engage in swimming
- Reduce time spent in front of monitor or TV
- Use fitness equipment.
Pharmacological obesity treatment
Medications can be very effective for the obesity treatment in combination with exercise and dieting. Using drugs to treat obesity may reduce a patient’s weight by 5 to 15%. Weight loss drugs are advised to be taken from 3 to 8 months, depending on the obesity degree and other individual factors.
Orlistat (Xenical) is a drug that inhibits fat absorption in the gastrointestinal tract. Orlistat (Xenical) is able to excrete about 30% of fat ingested with food.
Phentermine is a weight loss drug, which has been used in obesity treatment for more than 45 years. Phentermine acts directly on the nervous system and suppresses the obese patient’s appetite. Phentermine is not intended for long-term use (up to 3 months).
Sibutramine is a medical drug, which reduces appetite and increases thermogenesis. It is the only drug, recommended for long-term use. Due to some side effects, Sibutramine is not used for the obesity treatment in many countries (in U.S. since 2010).
Surgical obesity treatment
Surgical obesity treatment is recommended when other treatments have failed. Usually surgical treatment is indicated, if:
- Patient body weight exceeds the recommended weight by 100 pounds
- Obese patient with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or with a BMI of 35 or more, when life is threatened
Surgical treatment requires understanding that diet and exercise should be followed throughout life after surgery.