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Topics related to obesity, weight loss, and weight-loss diets are the focus of this part of our web guide.

Often viewed as a disease, obesity is a medical problem in which an individual has too much body fat. Obesity is more than an aesthetic concern; it is a medical problem with a significant risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, and certain cancers.

Although overeating is a common cause of obesity, there are many reasons why people have trouble maintaining a healthy weight. These may include inherited, physiological, and environmental factors, often combined with a lack of physical activity and poor diet choices.

However, research indicates that even modest weight loss can improve an individual's health and prevent the health problems associated with obesity. A healthier diet, exercise, and other behavioral changes can effectively bring about weight loss. In some cases, prescription medications and other weight-loss measures might be indicated.

Body mass index (BMI) is generally used to determine obesity. BMI, a screening tool that measures the ratio of an individual's height to his weight to estimate body fat, can be calculated using the weight in kilograms (kg) divided by the square of height in meters (m2). Another calculation method, suggested on the Mayo Clinic website, is to multiply weight in pounds by 703, divide by height in inches, and then divide again by height in inches. Several online calculators are also available.

A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is healthy, a BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight, and a BMI of 30.0 or above represents obesity.

The calculation of BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat, although it doesn't directly measure body fat. Some people, such as muscular athletes, may have a BMI above 30.0 without having excess body fat.

For a more accurate diagnosis of obesity, healthcare professionals are likely to perform a physical examination that includes a health history to review weight history, weight-loss efforts, physical activity, and exercise habits. Eating patterns, medications, and a family health history may also be included. This will likely be followed by a general physical exam, the calculation of BMI, and measurements of the individual's waist size. Fat stored around the waist increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Other health problems will also be considered.

The goal of obesity treatment is to reach and maintain a healthy rate, improving overall health and lowering the risk of developing complications associated with obesity. Generally, the first treatment goal involves a moderate weight loss of five to ten percent of the individual's total weight.

Successful weight-loss programs include changing eating habits and increased physical activity. Reducing calories and adopting healthier eating habits is the key to successfully treating obesity. Steady weight loss over a long period is considered safer and more effective than rapid weight loss in the first months. The overall goal should be to keep the weight off permanently.

Several diet plans can be found on the Internet, in bookstores, magazines, and even on grocery store shelves. There is no one best weight-loss diet. What works great for one person may not work well for another, and vice versa. The best advice is to choose one that involves healthy foods and works for you. Weight-loss diets may include counting and cutting calories, developing a habit of feeling full on less, making healthier food choices, restricting certain foods, or using meal replacements.

Quick fixes are probably not the best choice. No magic foods or pills will bring about healthy weight loss. To lose weight and keep it off, it will be necessary to adopt healthy eating habits that can be maintained over time.

Physical activity or exercise should also be a part of any weight-loss program.

Other, more extreme, choices might include weight-loss medications, endoscopic procedures, or weight-loss surgery. Endoscopic procedures might consist of endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty or intragastric balloon for weight loss procedures, while surgical options include adjustable gastric banding, gastric bypass surgery, or a gastric sleeve.

Even with these procedures, a commitment to making lifelong changes in eating and exercise habits will be necessary for a successful long-term outcome.



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