When it comes to losing weight, appearance and energy are a couple of worthwhile payoffs for committing the effort is may take. But if the promise of looking and feeling better is not enough, then the consequences of being overweight certainly make the effort worthwhile. Some of the deadliest diseases we know have obesity as a contributing factor.

Obesity is defined as a body-mass index of 30 or higher in adults. The body-mass index (BMI) is simply the ratio of a person’s height to weight, and although the measurement may not be perfect is has proven to be useful for determining and comparing how much fat a person is carrying.

Consequences Begin Before Obesity

An adult body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. Because children grow at a different pace during different ages, and growth progresses differently in boys and girls, the definitions of overweight and obesity are assessed by percentile rather than pure ratio for children.

The reason BMI is a key measurement is that body fat is correlated with heart disease, diabetes, overall mortality, and even cancer. Abdominal fat is considered so troublesome to overall health that efforts are made to measure it separately. Waist size, independent of BMI, is used to determine abdominal fat simply. Abdominal obesity in women is a waist size of 35 inches or higher; in men the threshold is 40 inches or higher.

Because fat contributes to early death by a number of causes, the number of deaths due to obesity is hard to calculate, but scientific literature suggests obesity causes about 300,000 deaths per year. It is suggested that obesity is second only to smoking as the largest cause of preventable death.

Getting the Kind of Help You Need

A family physician is, perhaps, the best source for beginning a medically supervised program of weight loss, because he or she is not tied to a particular approach or solution. Even public assessments of obesity are generalized, and although useful, they may not be the best indicators of past, present or future for you. It’s a good time to get to know a GP, and vice-versa.

Your own unique history, condition and outlook will determine the course that’s right for you, and nobody takes in that whole picture better than a family physician. Knowing when to escalate your efforts, and whether the payoff outweighs the effort, is the kind of balance that specialists alone don’t often counsel.

You’ll need a guide and some encouragement along the path too, and your family physician has the perspective that makes know-how more useful. Why not schedule an appointment with us at Global Family Medicine to begin? Call us at 843-815-6468.