Many people do not know when or where to start getting help for obesity. In general, people should try to lose weight if they have a large waist circumference, a family history of certain chronic diseases, or have preexisting medical conditions. Weight loss programs should include healthy eating plans, regular physical activity, and slow and steady weight loss plans.
Getting Help With Obesity: What Are My Options?The thought of achieving your weight management goals and better health can be motivating. However, for a lot of people who are overweight or obese, the various choices to achieve this weight loss can be equally daunting. There are diets, weight loss programs, gyms, pills, medications, surgery -- the list goes on.
With so many choices, how does a person decide where they should go for help with obesity? Experts agree that most people should begin by talking with their healthcare provider. He or she is in the best position to understand your particular situation and offer recommendations.
You may also be wondering when to seek help or what to look for when examining the various weight loss programs.
When to Seek Obesity HelpHealthcare providers generally agree that people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher can improve their health through weight loss (see BMI Calculator to find your BMI). This is especially true for people with a BMI of 40 or greater, who are considered extremely obese.
People with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 should prevent additional weight gain, at a minimum. They should lose weight if they have two or more of the following circumstances:
- A large waist circumference: Men who have waist circumferences greater than 40 inches and women who have waist circumferences greater than 35 inches are at a higher risk for diabetes, dyslipidemia (abnormal amounts of fat in the blood), high blood pressure, and heart disease.
- A family history of certain chronic diseases: If you have close relatives who have had heart disease or diabetes, you are more likely to develop these problems if you are obese.
- Preexisting medical conditions: High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, high triglycerides, and high blood glucose are all warning signs of some obesity-associated diseases (see Health Effects of Obesity).
Fortunately, a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your initial body weight can significantly improve your health by lowering blood pressure and other risk factors. In addition, research shows that a 5 to 7 percent weight loss brought about by moderate diet and exercise can delay or possibly prevent type 2 diabetes in people who are at a high risk for the condition.