According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects about 93.3 million of US adults. And obesity-related conditions are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. These statistics and the difficulty that individuals have in losing extra weight has led to the development of a new medical specialty: obesity medicine. Review the frequently asked questions below to discover what the specialty could do for you or those you love.
Q: What is obesity?
A: Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health.
Q: How do I know if I am obese?
A: A doctor will usually suggest that a person has obesity if they have a high body mass index (BMI) that is more than 30. You can find your BMI by entering your height and weight into one of the many simple and free BMI calculators found online.
Q: What are the health risks of obesity?
A: Obese people are at risk for a number of preventable diseases and conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, stroke, breathing problems, certain types of cancer, back and joint pain, fertility issues. Obesity may also contribute to depression and mood disorders.
Q: What causes obesity?
A: Many factors contribute to obesity, including nutrition, one's level of physical activity, sleep, genetics, hormones, and more.
Q: What is obesity medicine?
A: Obesity medicine combines science-based medicine with individualized treatment, resulting in improved health outcomes for patients.
Q: What is an obesity medicine clinician?
A: Obesity medicine clinicians are specially trained to treat obesity and obesity-related conditions using evidence-based approaches.
Q: How do I find an obesity medicine specialist?
A: The Obesity Action Coalition and the Obesity Medicine Association provide a searchable Database for obesity doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dietitians, and bariatric surgeons near you.
Q: How do you treat obesity?
A: Many different factors contribute to obesity, obesity medicine clinicians develop personalized treatment plans comprised of nutrition, physical activity, behavior therapy, and medication with referral to bariatric surgeons when needed.
Kimberley Sampson, MD, is an OB/GYN at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and is recently board certified in obesity medicine.