Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even overall mortality all are correlated with body fat. 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 appears that obesity is second only to smoking as the largest cause of preventable death, because obesity is a contributing factor to the deadliest diseases we know.

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

Abdominal fat is considered such a threat to overall health that efforts are made to measure it separately. Waist size is used to determine abdominal fat simply, independent of body mass index. Abdominal obesity in women is a waist size of 35 inches or higher; in men, the threshold is 40 inches or higher. But public assessments of obesity are generalized, and although useful, they may not be the best indicators of past, present or future health issues for you.

Matching the Solution to the Threat

Medical weight loss can include a spectrum of doctor-supervised solutions to the growing and persistent problem of overweight and obesity, from supervised diet and exercise, to nutritional supplements, to bariatric surgery. The variety of solutions is warranted because the consequences of remaining overweight or growing obese are serious indeed.

The solution that’s right for you depends on your own unique history, condition, and outlook, 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.

The reason a family physician is perhaps the best source for beginning a medically supervised program of weight loss is because he or she is not tied to any single approach or solution. Why not schedule an appointment with us at Global Family Medicine to begin? Call us at 843-815-6468.