Saturday, February 05, 2005

Some Help to Lose Weight

Losing weight is a pain in the butt. Counting calories, checking fat content, worrying about how many "net-carbs" to eat, dragging yourself to the gym... it's enough to make you reach for a big fat donut!!

So I'm going to post a few (hopefully useful) weight loss and diet articles to help you reduce weight without losing your sanity.

I hope you enjoy them.

See also: Guide to Losing Weight (Part Two)

How to Eat Healthily and Reduce Weight

There is probably more nonsense talked about losing weight, than any other social issue. Eat this, eat that, weigh this, weigh that, don't eat this, don't eat that - where does it all end? Well it ends right here. Whether you are 200 or 2 pounds overweight, or whether you just want to eat a healthy diet - welcome to my weight loss blog!

Over the next pages, I will be revealing all the secrets of how to acquire a healthy lean body, how to reduce your cholesterol and how to feed your children instead of fattening them. I will also show you a wonderful motivation technique - used by Hollywood stars! - to help you to stick to your diet, plus a host of tips on how to lose weight and feel fantastic!

But first, in view of the alarming increase in the number of people who are becoming overweight, I want to start this column with a serious question: WHEN DOES BEING OVERWEIGHT START TO AFFECT OUR HEALTH?

According to official medical advice, each of us has a personal weight limit, which we should not exceed if we wish to stay healthy. At this point we become obese. This limit varies with height. For example, the limit for someone of 5 ft or less, is about 150 pounds.

If you are taller, you can check your own weight limit by simply adding an extra 5 pounds for every inch of your height above 5 ft. So, if you are 5 ft 4, add 20 pounds. This means that your limit is about 170 pounds. Or, if you are 6 ft, add 60 pounds. This means your limit is 210 pounds.

What happens if you exceed your limit? You will increase your chances of high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart attacks and gall-bladder disease.

In view of this, I strongly recommend each of you to use the above method to see how your own weight compares with the limit for someone of your height.

What action do I advise? If your weight exceeds the limit for someone of your height, then you should definitely lose weight, without delay. In this case, a sensible first step is to have a word with your doctor. And don't worry! As soon as your weight falls to more normal levels, so does the risk of illness.

If your weight is less than the limit, then you are not greatly at risk. However, you are not risk-free until your weight is about 25 pounds less than the limit. For example, if you are 5 ft 4 or less, you should weigh no more than about 155 pounds. However, if you do fall into this lower-risk category, don't think that you have to rush out and immediately start dieting! Start when you are ready and take it steady.

The good news is, no weight problem is incurable. In most cases, all that is needed is a few small changes to your regular eating habits, and a bit of patience. But don't forget the old saying: prevention is better than cure!

Real Secret of Weight Loss

What is the real secret of successful weight loss?

Is it eating fewer calories? Is it taking more exercise? Is it a matter of eating less fat or less sugar?

No. It is none of these things.

The real secret to losing weight is believing that you can DO it!

You can try all the diets and weight loss classes you like, but if, in your heart of hearts, you do not believe that you can lose weight, you never will. And even if you do, it won't be long before you regain it.

For example, you probably know several people who have been dieting on and off for years. By now, they know exactly what foods make them fat and yet they never manage to stay off them for long. Why not? Because in their heart of hearts, they lack confidence in themselves. Although they want to lose weight, they do not think they can. As a result, every year they get a little heavier.

Or, take people who are seriously overweight. Every so often, their doctor puts them on a diet, but they never stick to it for long. Why not? Because deep down they do not think they are meant to be slim. As a result, despite increasing ill-health, they get heavier and heavier.

As you can see, these dieters are caught in a terrible trap. On the one hand, they all want to lose weight. On the other, they do not believe they can - they genuinely believe they are doomed to be fat. No matter what diet they try, they expect to fail and so they do. And each time they fail, they lose a little more confidence in their ability to change.

How can you avoid this trap, or, how do you escape from it? By believing in your ability to lose weight!

For example, you must stop thinking of yourself as naturally fat! No one is naturally fat - not me, not you, not anyone. We may each have a different shape, but no one is doomed to be fat. We are no more compelled to be fat than we are to stick a banana in our ear!

You may be overweight at the moment, in fact you may have been overweight for years, but this does not mean you have to stay like that. Everyone has the power inside them to reduce weight, and that includes you!

The problem is, many people still cling to the idea that losing weight requires superhuman willpower and the dedication of an Olympic athlete. This is simply not true. The truth is, losing weight is quite easy. All you need is faith in your ability to do it. The rest is a matter of time. So, don't let your previous failures put you off! Just start having a little faith in yourself - you will be amazed at the difference it makes.

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Useful Nutrition and Weight Control Resources
Diet Myths
Heart and Diet Info
Nutrition and Disease Info
Weight Control Tips

Attitude to Dieting

Dieting is like marriage: it won't work if you start with the wrong attitude! In this article, I am going to give you two tips which will help you to develop the sort of attitude that makes dieting easy.

First, you must have a strong reason to start dieting - something that you really want to lose weight for. For example, it is no good dieting because you think you should, or because your friend is, or just because it is 3 months to Thanksgiving, or just because you get a notion to. None of these reasons are strong enough.

Why not? Because all dieting involves making changes in how you eat, and you will probably find this too difficult, unless your desire to lose weight is greater than your desire to carry on eating as usual. For example, if you adore pastries or other very fattening foods, you are not going to find it easy to cut down, unless you have a good reason for doing so.

What do I mean by a good reason?

It must be something you really want and it must be specific. Ideally, have a specific weight in mind. For example, if you are seriously overweight – say 220 pounds - fix your sights on getting down to a more shapely 180 pounds. Or, if you really like clothes and are currently size 16, fix your sights on getting into a size 12. Or, if you would like to get around more easily, aim to continue dieting until you can comfortably manage a 2-mile walk. Any reason will do, providing it is important to you and gives you a target to aim for.

The good news is, once you have something important to aim for, you will overcome almost any difficulty with ease, no matter how overweight you are. I have seen many 250 pound dieters succeed in getting down to 160 pounds or less, simply because they set themselves specific personal targets that motivated them.

OK, so you really want to start dieting and you have a good reason for doing so. Now here's my second tip - take it slowly! Whatever you do, don't make the fatal mistake of thinking that you can lose weight quickly, because it won't happen.

For example, you probably know several people who are constantly going on diets. Every so often, they grit their teeth and starve themselves for two or three weeks. Yes, they lose a few pounds, but their diets never seem to last and they usually regain all the weight they lose and more! As a result, not only do they get heavier, they also become more and more unhappy.

As you can see, this search for a quick-fix is a waste of time. The faster you lose weight, the faster you regain it, and your poor body won't know whether it is coming or going. The only way to lose weight for good, is to lose just a little bit every week.

For example, if your weight is 180 pounds or less, then ideally you should aim to lose no more than 2 pounds per week. If your weight is 180-220 pounds, aim to lose up to 3 pounds per week and from 220 pounds upwards, allow up to 4 pounds per week.

These weekly weight-losses may not sound much but they can lead to quite spectacular results. For example, if you weigh 280 pounds you can comfortably lose 98 pounds in 8 months. Or, if you weigh 170 pounds and want to reduce weight to a trimmer 150 pounds, it should take you no more than about 3 months.

Can you think of a quicker way to improve your health, your energy, your shape, your looks and your overall happiness?

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Strictly Non-PC But Humerous Weight Loss Resource
100 Weight Control Tips

Small Changes in Eating Habits

The best way to start a diet and get into shape is to join a local weight loss group. Well, I'm sure Weight Watchers would say so. :)

However, for many of you, this may not be possible - you may have small children to look after, or you may not want to start a serious diet, or you may hate losing weight in public. Don't worry! If you follow my advice, you will develop the sort of good eating habits that will improve your health as well as your shape. So, stop worrying about your weight and relax - I am not going to ask you to give up all your favourite foods or anything like that. All you have to do, is to make a few small changes in your normal eating habits.

I want you to begin by switching from full-fat foods to lower-fat foods.

Why? There are two reasons. First, because lower-fat foods are generally (not always) healthier - don't forget, fat is a major cause of coronary heart disease. Second, because they contain fewer calories and so you can eat more of them without putting on weight. In my experience, people who are overweight tend to eat small portions of high-fat food on the assumption that these small portions won't make them fat. This is a big mistake. For example, one medium-sized pastry or a wedge of Stilton cheese, is as fattening as a whole plateful of chicken fillets, potatoes and vegetables! So next time you go shopping, look for lower-fat alternatives.

For example, start buying low fat milk instead of full fat milk. Low-fat milk contains more calcium and more added vitamins. The only thing it has less of, is fat, so it is better for your heart, as well as your shape.

In addition, switch from full-fat yogurts to low-fat ones, instead. There is now a huge variety of low-fat or 'light' yogurts in most food stores, so you should have no difficulty finding the flavors you like.

Next, I advise you to avoid butter and switch to lower-fat soft spreads. Choose brands with no hydrogenated fat or "trans-fats". Butter contains roughly twice the fat of these spreads and eight times as much saturated (bad) fat. Yes, I know butter is delicious and it’s more "natural" and I wish I could recommend it - but I can't.

Now we come to mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is delicious. Unfortunately it is 80 per cent pure fat. So, when you add mayonnaise to cabbage to make coleslaw, it is like coating it in cooking fat. Ideally, avoid mayonnaise altogether and switch to another type of sauce or pickle, but if you really can't - choose one of the lower-fat or 'light' brands.

Finally, I advise you to start cutting down on cheese! Cheese is not a low calorie or weight-friendly food - quite the reverse. Cheddar cheese is more than 30 per cent fat; Stilton and cream cheeses are nearly 50 per cent fat. I know that cheese is a good source of calcium, but this does not justify eating more than a small, regular amount. So start cutting down! Grate cheese to make it go further, or use thin slices only and, if possible, switch to a slightly lower-fat variety.

These changes are the basis of any sensible eating-plan and, ideally, you should stick to them for life! This doesn't mean that you can never have a hunk of Stilton or a large dollop of mayonnaise, but these foods should become more "occasional treats" rather than regular items in your shopping basket.

Warning!
Calories are still king, as far as losing weight is concerned. So just because a food is labelled "low fat" doesn't mean that it's low in calories. In fact, SOME low-fat brands can be higher in calories than the full-fat version. So check the label. :)

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Useful Resource About Calories
Food Calorie Info

Two Amazing Foods for Health and Weight

In almost every food store in America, two amazing foods are sold. These foods are low in calories, high in fibre, high in energy and come in dozens of different varieties.

Even better, they help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, as well as cancer of the breast, lung, bowel and stomach. In addition, according to some experts, they help to delay the ageing process that causes wrinkles, skin blemishes and loss of sight. Finally, some doctors consider that these foods will even improve male potency. So, what are these miracle foods?

Answer: fruit and vegetables.

If you value your health or if you want to lose weight, start eating a lot more fruit and vegetables!

How much should you eat? Guidelines issued by the US Government recommend five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. This is equivalent to 1/2 glass of fruit juice, 2 tablespoons of cooked vegetables, a small bowl of homemade vegetable soup, 2 medium-sized pieces of fresh fruit and 2 tablespoons of cooked fruit.

Many of you probably eat a lot less than five portions a day - if so, don't worry! No one is suggesting that you change your eating habits overnight. However, for the sake of your health and your weight, you should start to increase your intake of these foods.

A good way to start doing this, is to go for more variety. For example, when making a salad, don't limit yourself to the usual tomato, lettuce and cucumber. Try adding some onion rings, cold potato, peas, beetroot, green beans, chopped cabbage, grated carrot and chopped fruit. Top it off with fat-free dressing for extra taste.

Furthermore, at lunch or dinner, don't limit yourself to vegetables like carrots and peas: enjoy grilled tomatoes, or a tin of sweetcorn, or an extra frozen vegetable, or mash some onion or turnip into your potatoes, with a little low-fat milk. And for extra taste and health, add a little fresh garlic or sliced ginger to your casseroles and stews.

At the same time, spend more money on fruit.

For example, if you usually limit yourself to one carton of (say) mandarin oranges, buy two cartons, and while you're at it, buy some grapes, or a melon or even an occasional fresh pineapple.

And use your imagination: if you hate peeling oranges, cut them into thin sections, or squeeze them to make juice. Cutting a whole orange into 12 small sections makes eating fruit SO EASY!

Candy and Cookies Not Weight Friendly

What do you get when you mix a few chemicals with flavoured fat, processed sugar and concentrated milk?

The answer is, a lump of sweet fat, better known as a CANDY BAR.

As you can see from it's basic ingredients, candy is not a health-food. Neither, for that matter, are cookies. Indeed, since both these foods contain large amounts of sugar or fat, or both, and have no real food-value, it would be more accurate to call them ill-health foods.

So why do we eat so much of them? Why are we filling our bodies and those of our children with all this unhealthy, fattening junk? The answer is, because we are completely brain-washed by advertising.

Let's start with TV advertising for chocolate. Almost every time we turn on the TV, we see lots of slim, happy people sinking their beautiful white teeth into bars of chocolate. Or, we see smiling mothers feeding candy to their teenagers.

However, one thing we never see is a fat child eating chocolate! Why not? Because the advertisers want to brain-wash us into believing that candy doesn't make you fat. But that's not all. They also want us to believe that candy makes us energetic and happy.

Instead of swallowing this ridiculous nonsense, why not do yourself and your family a big favour! Next time you see a TV commercial for candy, remember this: candy is bad for your heart, bad for your teeth, bad for your weight, bad for your shape and reduces your energy. No wonder it needs advertising!

Cookies

Another heavily advertised snack food, is cookies. According to the advertisers, cookies make an ideal snack or go perfectly with a soft drink or a coffee.

What the advertisers never reveal, however, is that cookies are usually rich in both fat and sugar, which means that they too are bad for your heart, bad for your weight and bad for your teeth. Enjoy them as an occasional treat, by all means, but don't be fooled into thinking that they are an ideal snack - they aren't!

If you want to treat yourself or your children to something sweet, choose something with more nutrition and less fat, like a low-fat yogurt, or some raisins, or a banana, or a slice of whole wheat bread and jam.

The truth is, neither candy nor cookies provide us with any real nutrition. Instead, because they contain significant amounts of fat and sugar, they help us to gain weight and lose our health.
So if you want the best for yourself and your children, my advice is to do two things.

First, start buying less of this heavily advertised junk-food. Second, start telling your children the facts about food. Remember, they need you to tell them the truth, to balance what they see on TV.

Whatever you do, stop being brain-washed by all this fancy advertising and start thinking for yourself. It'll make it a lot easier to lose weight.

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Candy "Treats"

When you were small, did your mother ever say to you: 'You've been so naughty that I'm going to buy you a candy bar'?

No, of course not. Like every other child, you only received a bar of chocolate or something similar when you were good.

And no doubt this process continued as you grew up. Candy on Valentine's Day; candy at Easter; candy and cake on your birthday; candy at Thanksgiving and at Christmas, a special cake on your wedding day, chocolates on your anniversary and so on. That's why, you and probably every other adult in the country are now brainwashed into associating candy-type foods with happiness.

Thus, not only do you feed yourself on this sort of fattening, teeth-rotting junk, you also give it to your children - who in turn will probably give it to their children.

Meanwhile, as I mention above, the food industry is only too eager to encourage this habit. Every day, TV advertising reinforces the connection between candy and happiness, cookies and pleasure. Indeed, according to a recent survey, the Top 20 advertised foods on TV are nearly all junk-foods.

So what's the solution? Well, like everything else, it's a question of balance. Eating the occasional cookie or candy bar is not going to do you any harm. However, start eating this food regularly and watch your waistline grow - it won't be long before the fat starts to appear!

Of course, I realise that for some of you, this is easier said than done, especially if you are a candy or cookie-addict, or if you have children who aren't overweight and who don't understand why they should suddenly stop eating this sort of food. In this case, your best bet is to improve your diet one step at a time.

Improving Your Diet Gradually

For example, as far as your own eating is concerned, try this: eat normally for one week, but write down exactly how many candy bars or cookies you eat. Then, over the next couple of months, gradually reduce this amount to (say) one bar and half a dozen cookies per week.

At the same time, it's a good idea to fill up with more low-fat yogurts and fruit - I know of one man who completely cured his after-dinner craving for biscuits, simply by eating a carton of light yogurt instead.

Getting your children to eat less junk-food requires more effort. An essential first-step is to explain why it is bad for them and to get them to co-operate in eating less of it. After that, the most important thing to do, is to set them a good example - remember, it was probably you who gave them a taste for these junk-foods, in the first place! (oops)

General Fitness Advice to Reduce Weight

For optimum weight control, experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, particularly after you have lost a large amount of weight, you may need to do 60 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity each day. Physical activity may include structured activities such as walking, running, basketball, or other sports. It may also include daily activities such as household chores, yard work, or walking the dog. Pick a combination of structured and daily activities that fit your schedule.

If you have been inactive for a while, start slowly and work up to 30 minutes a day at a pace that is comfortable for you. If you are unable to be active for 30 minutes at one time, accumulate activity over the course of the day in 10- to 15-minute sessions.

How Much Aerobic Activity For Best Weight Control

You can meet your goal of at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity by participating in aerobic activities. Aerobic exercise includes any activity that makes you breathe harder than when you are resting and increases your heart rate.

Experts recommend moderate-intensity exercise. At this pace, you may breathe harder and
find it more difficult to talk, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. If you are just beginning, slowly work up to moving at a moderate-intensity pace.

Current Exercise Habits

Less than one-third (31.8 percent) of U.S. adults get regular leisure-time physical activity (defined as light or moderate activity five times or more per week for 30 minutes or more each time and/or vigorous activity three times or more per week for 20 minutes or more each time). About 10 percent of adults do no physical activity at all in their leisure time.

About 25 percent of young people (ages 12–21 years) participate in light to moderate
activity (e.g., walking, bicycling) nearly every day. About 50 percent regularly engage
in vigorous physical activity. Approximately 25 percent report no vigorous physical
activity, and 14 percent report no recent vigorous or light to moderate physical
activity.

Interesting Pages

Exercise Tips for Idiots
Best Time to Exercise
How Long to Exercise For
How Often to Train
About Metabolism
Questions About Metabolic Rate
How Many Calories to Burn When Exercising
Calories Burned by Aerobic & Anaerobic Workouts

Nutritional and Weight Loss Effects of Low Carb Eating

The long-term health effects of a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet are unknown. But
getting most of your daily calories from high-protein foods like meat, eggs, and cheese
is not a balanced eating plan.

You may be eating too much fat and cholesterol, which may raise heart disease risk. You may be eating too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which may lead to constipation due to lack of dietary fiber. Following a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet may also make you feel nauseous, tired, and weak.

Eating fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrate a day can lead to the buildup of ketones (partially broken-down fats) in your blood. A buildup of ketones in your blood (called ketosis) can cause your body to produce high levels of uric acid, which is a risk factor for gout (a painful swelling of the joints) and kidney stones. Ketosis may be especially risky for pregnant women and people with diabetes or kidney disease.

High-protein/low-carbohydrate diets are often low in calories because food choices are strictly limited, so they may cause short-term weight loss. But a reduced-calorie eating plan that includes recommended amounts of carbohydrate, protein, and fat will also allow you to lose weight. By following a balanced eating plan, you will not have to stop eating whole classes of foods, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables - and miss the key nutrients they contain. You may also find it easier to stick with a diet or eating plan that includes a greater variety of foods.

Carbs in Food
Carbs and Glycemic Index
GI of Popular Carb Foods

Are Carbohydrate Starches Bad For Weight Loss?

Many foods high in starch, like bread, rice, pasta, cereals, beans, fruits, and some vegetables (like potatoes and yams) are low in fat and calories. They become high in fat and calories when eaten in large portion sizes or when covered with high-fat toppings like butter, sour cream, or mayonnaise. Foods high in starch (also called complex carbohydrates) are an important source of energy for your body.

About 55 percent of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, even when trying to lose weight. Pay attention to your serving sizes: one serving is equal to 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of pasta, rice, or cooked cereal. Try to avoid high-fat toppings and choose whole grains, like whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and bran cereal. Choose other starchy foods that are high in dietary fiber too, like beans, peas, and vegetables.

Glycemic Load of Food Portions
Low GI Diet
Glycemic Value of Meals

Are Starchy Carbs Bad For Diabetics?

No. You may eat some starches at each meal. People might tell you not to eat starches, but that is not correct. Eating starches is healthy for everyone, including people with diabetes.

Diabetes Diet Advice
Facts About Diabetes, Carbs and Diet
Diabetic Diet Food Pyramid

Surgery For Weight Loss

Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery

If your body mass index is 40 or more, or it is 35 or more and you have weight-related
health (or mobility problems) such as diabetes or heart disease, you may consider
gastric-reduction surgery (also called bariatric surgery).

Does it Work?

Most patients lose weight quickly, and many keep off most of their weight with a healthy eating plan and regular physical activity. Still, surgery can lead to problems that require more operations. Surgery may also reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals in your body and cause gallstones.

Diet and Exercise Alone Ineffective to Treat Obesity

Severe obesity is a chronic condition that is difficult to treat through diet and exercise alone. Gastrointestinal surgery is an option for people who are severely obese and cannot lose weight by traditional means or who suffer from serious obesity-related health problems.

How Does Surgery Work?

The operation promotes weight loss by restricting food intake and, in some operations, interrupting the digestive process. As in other treatments for obesity, the best results are achieved with healthy eating behaviors and regular physical activity.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Causes Weight Loss?

Gastrointestinal surgery for obesity alters the digestive process. The operations can be divided into two types: restrictive and restrictive-plus-malabsorptive procedures. They can be performed by bariatric surgeons using "open" or "laparoscopic" surgical techniques. (Laparoscopic surgery utilizes instruments connected to a video monitor used to view the operational area).

Restrictive operations (eg. Lap Band) limit food intake by creating a narrow passage from the upper part of the stomach into the larger lower part, reducing the amount of
food the stomach can hold and slowing the passage of food through the stomach.

Restrictive-plus-malabsorptive operations (eg. gastric bypass like roux-en-y) limit food intake and exclude most of the small intestine from the digestive tract so fewer calories and nutrients are absorbed.

Because combined operations result in greater weight loss than restrictive operations, they may also be more effective in improving the health problems associated with severe obesity, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and osteoarthritis.

Nutritional Risks of Gastric Bypass

However, combined procedures are more difficult to perform than the restrictive procedures. They are also more likely to result in long-term nutritional deficiencies. This is because the operation causes food to bypass the duodenum and jejunum, where most iron and calcium are absorbed. Menstruating women may develop anemia because not enough vitamin B12 and iron are absorbed. Decreased absorption of calcium may also bring on osteoporosis and related bone diseases. Patients must take nutritional supplements that usually prevent these deficiencies. Patients who have the biliopancreatic diversion procedure must also take fat-soluble (dissolved by fat) vitamins A, D, E, and K supplements, and require life-long use of special foods and
medications.

Health Risks of Gastric Bypass

In addition to risks associated with restrictive procedures such as infection, combined operations are more likely to lead to complications. Combined operations carry a greater risk than restrictive operations for abdominal hernias (up to 28 percent), which require a follow-up operation to correct. The risk of hernia, however, is lower (about 3 percent) when laparoscopic techniques are used.

Laparoscopic Weight Loss Surgery

In laparoscopy, the surgeon makes one or more small incisions through which slender surgical instruments are passed. This technique eliminates the need for a large incision and creates less tissue damage. Patients who are super-obese (more than 350 pounds) or have had previous abdominal operations may not be good candidates for laparoscopy, however. Adjustable gastric banding is routinely performed via laparoscopy. The small incisions result in less blood loss, shorter hospitalization, a faster recovery, and fewer complications than open operations. However, combined laparoscopic procedures are more difficult to perform than open procedures and can create serious problems if done incorrectly.

Bariatric Surgery for Severely Obese Teenagers

With rates of overweight among youth on the rise, bariatric surgery is sometimes considered as a treatment option for adolescents who are severely overweight. However, there are many concerns about the long-term effects of this type of operation on adolescents’ developing bodies and minds. Experts in pediatric overweight and bariatric surgery recommend that surgical treatment only be considered when adolescents have tried for at least 6 months to lose weight and have not been successful. Candidates should be severely overweight (BMI of 40 or more), have reached their adult height (usually 13 or older for girls, 15 or older for boys), and have serious weight-related health problems such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. In addition, potential patients and their parents should be evaluated to see how emotionally prepared they are for the operation and the lifestyle changes they will need to make. Teenage patients should also be referred to a team of experts in adolescent medicine and bariatric surgery who are qualified to meet their unique needs.

Bariatric Surgery Information
Obesity Help

Explanation of Obesity & Overweight

What is Obesity and Overweight

Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. A person can be overweight without being obese, as in the example of a bodybuilder or other athlete who has a lot of muscle. However, many people who are overweight are also obese.

How Many People Are Obese

Approximately 30 percent of adults in the United States are obese, up from 15 percent 2 decades ago. Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) identifies obesity as a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater. Obesity is further broken down to Class I (BMI of 30-34.9 kg/m2), Class II (BMI of 35-39.9 kg/m2), and Class III (BMI of 40 kg/m2 or greater), also called extreme obesity.

Health Dangers of Obesity

Overweight and obesity are known risk factors for: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and other breathing problems, some forms of cancer (eg. uterine, breast, colorectal, kidney, and gallbladder). Obesity is also associated with: high blood cholesterol, complications of pregnancy, menstrual irregularities, hirsutism (presence of excess body and facial hair), stress incontinence (urine leakage caused by weak pelvic-floor muscles),psychological disorders such as depression, increased surgical risk.

Obesity Information

Obesity and Mortality Risk

Most studies show an increase in mortality rate associated with obesity (BMI > 30). Obese individuals have a 50 to 100 percent increased risk of death from all causes, compared with normal-weight individuals (BMI 20–25). Most of the increased risk is due to cardiovascular causes. Life expectancy of a moderately obese person could be shortened by 2 to 5 years. White men between 20 and 30 years old with a BMI > 45 could shorten their life expectancy by 13 years; white women in the same category could lose up to 8 years of life. Young African American men with a BMI > 45 could lose up to 20 years of life; African American women, up to 5.

What is Overweight

An expert panel convened by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in cooperation with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), both part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) identified overweight as a BMI of 25–29.9 kg/m², and obesity as a BMI of 30 kg/m² or greater. However, overweight and obesity are not mutually exclusive, since people who are obese are also overweight.

Defining overweight as a BMI of 25 or greater is consistent with the recommendations of the World Health Organization and most other countries. BMI cutoff points are a guide for definitions of overweight and obesity and are useful for comparative purposes across populations and over time; however, the health risks associated with overweight and obesity are on a continuum and do not necessarily correspond to rigid cutoff points.

For example, an overweight individual with a BMI of 29 does not acquire additional health consequences associated with obesity simply by crossing the BMI threshold > 30. However, health risks generally increase with increasing BMI.

Diabetes Associated With Weight

Among people diagnosed with type 2 (noninsulin-dependent) diabetes, 67 percent have a BMI > 27 and 46 percent have a BMI > 30. About 17 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, accounting for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases. An additional 20 million have impaired glucose tolerance, sometimes called pre-diabetes, which is a strong risk factor for developing diabetes later in life. An estimated 70 percent of diabetes risk in the U.S. can be attributed to excess weight.

Economic Costs of Overweight and Obesity

A recent study estimated annual medical spending due to overweight and obesity (BMI >25) to be as much as $92.6 billion in 2002 dollars (9.1 percent of U.S. health expenditures). The total annual cost of overweight and obesity is estimated at $117 billion.

Article About Obesity

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