Treatments For Obesity And Overweight
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “more than half of the people who now travel on the same plane are overweight or obese”. The WHO states that 59% of adults in the European region are overweight or obese, with Spain being one of the countries with the highest incidence; the alarming figure does not stop growing. In this article we will talk about this pathology and also its possible treatments.
What is considered obesity?
Overweight and obesity are defined as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat in a person’s body, which may represent a risk to their physical, emotional, and social health.
Obesity is a chronic inflammatory disease that directly affects our health, increasing, among others, the risk of suffering from some of the conditions that cause the most deaths in Spain: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
The BMI (body mass index) is a tool that relates a person’s body weight and height, and that together with other data that nutritionists use ( eating habits, lifestyle, and medical history ), helps us guide your state of health and the degree of overweight or obesity, because there are different degrees of obesity.
The WHO defines overweight in adults when the BMI is equal to or greater than 25 and defines obesity when the BMI is equal to or greater than 30. Although, in practice, more parameters must be assessed to assess possible overweight, such as the complexion.
In the case of children, it is essential to take into account their age, eating habits, and lifestyle, and to assess the evolution of their height and weight percentiles according to the growth curves.
What Kind Of Treatments For Overweight And Obesity Are There?
The main treatment for overweight and obesity is to improve the general health of each patient by changing nutritional and lifestyle habits. In the consultation, dietitians-nutritionists specialized in this type of nutritional treatment, which is based on:
- Dietary changes help to have a healthy and balanced diet and that allows us to lose weight in a controlled and progressive way. We work with a nutritional guideline in which a caloric deficit is proposed according to the energy expenditure of each person, adapted to their pathologies and preferences, and without putting their health at risk.
- The consumption of vegetables, fruits, and vegetable proteins such as legumes, animals (fish, eggs, and lean meats), whole grains, and healthy fats are promoted; as long as there are no contraindications. The nutritional guidelines must be personalized and appropriate to each situation, which is why I recommend periodic follow-ups.
- Increased daily activity and physical activity or sport. It contributes to improving the state of health of the person and to losing weight.
- Progressive lifestyle changes: we worry about sleep habits, toxic substances, breathing, schedules, stress, and other situations to take into account.
- Accompaniment during the process and psychological support by a qualified professional if the treatment requires it.
- When proper adherence to dietary guidelines is not accompanied by an acceptable therapeutic response, your doctor may prescribe a medication that accompanies nutritional treatment.
Endoscopic or surgical treatments are interventions that are reserved for cases of extreme obesity when other treatments with advice have not worked.
Diets To Lose Weight Are Not Recommended And are Potentially Dangerous
In consultation, approximately 70% of patients have ever followed a diet. Diets that are usually very restrictive, with products that replace or complete their meals, that have healthy foods that are prohibited and are often poorly planned.
Currently, we can find hundreds of diets just by searching the internet, although they may not be ideal and may even harm our physical and/or emotional health. I recommend being wary of:
- Diets that promise speedy results in a short time.
- Diets or advice that have no scientific evidence. Diets that we find on the internet are not from registered nutritionists’ websites or those advised by nutritionists.
- Diets and products that promise miracles. Detox shakes, bars that replace main meals, pills, etc.
- Intermittent fasting is wrong without advice from a professional.
- Restrictive diets, which are usually very low in calories and also tend to prohibit healthy foods, such as bananas, pumpkins, or rice and pasta).
- Diets that make us starve and even produce tiredness or irritability.
- Diets that are not personalized.
What Can You Do TO Prevent Overweight And Obesity?
Overweight and obesity, for the most part, can be prevented. Being aware of the situation, and getting information and advice, can help us reprogram our diet and our lifestyle. The Generalitat de Catalunya has a guide called: “small changes to eat better” and I consider that it is a good way to start with the prevention of overweight and obesity. “Small changes” advise us on which foods and behaviors we should promote, which ones are better to change, and which foods and ingredients it is important to reduce.
MORE: Fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, active and social life.
CHANGE TO: Water, whole foods, virgin olive oil, seasonal foods, and proximity.
LESS: salt, sugars, red and processed meat, and ultra-processed foods.
On the Generalitat’s public health page, you can find the complete guide “Small changes to eat better”.
Overweight and obesity are present in our society and TREATMENT is as important as PREVENTION, which is why I consider that it is everyone’s business and not just those who suffer from it.
I recommend that nutritional treatment always be done under the instructions and supervision of a dietitian-nutritionist. In addition, there are more and more experts with master’s degrees specializing in obesity and overweight. Your monitoring will help you adapt the diet to your circumstances, habits, needs, and preferences and will accompany you throughout the process.
Eating well is not just a treatment for overweight and obesity, it is a measure of physical, emotional, and social prevention for everyone. “If we want our acquaintances: family, children, and friends to eat well, we first have to start eating well ourselves.” “If we want our acquaintances: family, children, and friends to exercise, we first have to start exercising ourselves.”