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Healthy Weight Management Awareness Month

January, which follows two months of holiday eating, often results in promises to change. As a result, it’s no surprise that it is also Healthy Weight Management Awareness Month. 

This new year also brings with it reported weight gain after months of quarantine and worry during the pandemic. The Center for Obesity Medicine and Metabolic Performance at UT Physicians attributes pandemic-related weight struggles to working from home, snacking, limited access to gyms and increased stress. 

Irregular eating behaviors or eating disorders may contribute to obesity. These include binge eating, nighttime eating and unplanned grazing between meals. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mood disorders are also linked to obesity. These conditions may also make it difficult to manage weight. 

Obesity is not a lifestyle choice. It is recognized globally as a chronic disease with approximately 240 health conditions associated with it. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, maintaining a healthy weight is important for health. Doing so lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and many different cancers. Studies show that obesity can damage your health more than smoking or alcohol abuse! 

Obesity is determined by your Body Mass Index. BMI is a calculation that considers your weight in relationship to your height. A BMI of 25-29 is considered overweight, 30-39 is obese and more than 40 is considered morbidly obese. 

Why Healthy Weight Management Matters 

The American Heart Association says keeping a healthy body weight allows blood to circulate more efficiently. At a healthy weight, bodies manage fluid levels more easily. In addition, people have more energy to make other positive health changes, reducing the chances to develop other adverse health conditions. 

According to National Geographic, one out of three Americans today is obese, twice as many as three decades ago. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared obesity an epidemic. 

Obesity is not just a problem for adults. Fifteen percent of children and teens are overweight, nearly three times more than in 1980. Obesity is associated with 400,000 deaths a year. 

In the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, middle-aged women and men who gained 11 to 22 pounds after age 20 were up to three times more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and gallstones than those who gained five pounds or less. Additionally, adult weight gain, even after menopause for women, can increase the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. 

What Influences Healthy Weight? 

When your weight is in a healthy range, you are better able to prevent a host of diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancers. 

The Harvard School of Public Health considers factors that impact weight: 

1. Diet: The quantity and quality of food in your diet

2. Genes: Some people are genetically predisposed to gain weight more easily than others or to store fat around the midsection. 

3. Physical inactivity: Exercising has a host of health benefits, including reducing the chances of developing heart disease, some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. 

4. Sleep: Research suggests there is a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. In general, children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep. Lack of sleep also disrupts the balance of key hormones that control appetite. Sleep-deprived people may be hungrier than those who get enough rest each night. 

Solutions for Managing Weight 

Obesity is a chronic disease that impacts the overall health of more than 60 million Americans. That is why more and more people are turning to weight-loss surgery, also called obesity surgery or bariatric surgery at Surgical Healing Arts Center. 

Bariatric surgery can cause weight loss by limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold, cause malabsorption of fats and calories, or by a combination of both. Most weight loss surgeries today are performed using minimally invasive techniques (laparoscopic surgery). 

The benefits of bariatric surgery go beyond reaching a healthier weight. Bariatric surgery has also been shown to improve and resolve high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides, sleep apnea and fatty liver disease, as well as decrease the chance of contracting some cancers.   

But having bariatric surgery is not the end of healthy weight management. Just like other people trying to maintain healthy weight, bariatric surgery patients must get appropriate nutrition, hydration and exercise after surgery, committing to lifetime guidelines of lifestyle changes. The team at Surgical Healing Arts Center are here to support our patients before, during and after surgery to get to and maintain healthy weight. 

Although food can be comforting, exercise is hard and time is short, taking steps to healthy weight maintenance is critical for your overall health. The benefits of doing so help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses now and as you age.