The Women's Health Resource Center
Obesity is defined as being 20% or more over the optimum weight for height and frame size. Statistics from the National Institutes of health show that half of the U.S. population is overweight and one-third is obese. The consequences of all these extra pounds are many ranging from mere frustration to an increased risk of life-threatening conditions. These conditions include cardiovascular disease, gallbladder disease, some types of cancer, osteoarthritis of weight bearing joints, and type 2 diabetes. For both overweight and obese individuals, weight loss can be a source of much psychological stress, in a society that places value on thinness, yet encourages eating habits and lifestyles that promote weight gain.
The causes of being overweight or obese include genetics, medical conditions, diet, lack of exercise and individual behavior patterns. Consequently, weight loss and weight maintenance is a complex physiological and behavioral process. New information about why we lose or gain weight is constantly being published in scientific literature. There is no easy, quick or simple solution for weight loss.
Some individual who are overweight can establish and follow a weight loss plan, modify their diet, or exercise, without professional assistance. Others need help in developing a plan involving both medical and behavioral support. Many resources are available, including programs supervised by nutritionists, behavior modification specialists and physicians.
For more information on obesity and weight management options contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500, the Community Health Resource Center at 415-923-3155 or the Institute for Health and Healing at 415-600-3660.
Read more about weight-loss surgery
What you can do…
- Seek appropriate medical treatment if your obesity is related to a medical condition.
- Search out a treatment program which includes components of an individualized mix of exercise, nutritionally balanced reduction in calories and behavioral change with or without counseling and support.
- Seek individual or group counseling for self-esteem and body image issues.
- Be aware of when and why you eat. Keep a food diary.
- Eat three low-fat nutritional balanced meals in conjunction with a regular exercise plan.