|Wellness Center presents tips on weight management|
Extra body weight brings extra health risks. Find out how to keep your weight in the healthy range.
1. What's the difference between being overweight and obese?
* A person who is overweight has too much body weight in relation to his or her height. A person who is obese has too high a percentage of body fat, regardless of his or her weight. The body mass index (BMI) is one tool that checks for overweight or obesity by comparing weight to height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 or higher is considered obese. To check your BMI, use this calculator.
2. What are the health risks of being overweight or obese?
* Weighing too much can increase your risk for many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis (breakdown of the cartilage and bone in the joints), sleep apnea, stroke and some forms of cancer.
3. How can I lower my risk of developing these health problems?
* Losing just 5 percent of your body weight can help lower your risk of weight-related health problems, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, this means losing 10 pounds.
4. What's the best way to lose weight?
* To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn each day. The American Dietetic Association recommends accomplishing this with a combination of a healthy, well-balanced diet and increased physical activity.
5. How much weight should I try to lose each week?
* Slow and steady weight loss of half a pound to 2 pounds per week is the healthiest way to lose weight. To help you stay motivated, try breaking down your long-term goal into a series of smaller, more manageable goals. For instance, aim to lose 5 pounds at a time, not 25 pounds all at once.
6. What kind of diet will help me get to a healthy weight?
* Start by filling up on high-fiber, low-calorie fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Switch over to low-fat meat, poultry and dairy products if you haven't already. Overall, choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in fat, salt and sugar.
7. How much should I eat during the day?
* Try to eat three well-balanced meals at regular times during the day. Be sure to eat only until you are full and keep snacking to a minimum. If you're hungry for a second serving, consider taking seconds of vegetables or salads instead of higher-fat, higher-calorie parts of a meal such as meats or desserts.
8. How much exercise do I need?
* Most health experts recommend that you aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on all or most days of the week. To lose weight or maintain weight loss, however, you may need more than 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
9. What is the best kind of exercise to help me lose weight?
* You might try brisk walking (15 minutes per mile or 4 mph), biking, swimming or any other activity that you enjoy. It also helps to work exercise into your daily routine. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking during your lunch break or working in the yard.
10. Are there medicines to help with weight loss?
* Several medications are available to treat obesity. Most of these medications promote weight loss by decreasing the appetite or increasing the feeling of being full. Studies on these medicines have shown that people who take them lose an average of between 5 and 22 pounds. Another type of medicine works by reducing the body's ability to absorb fat from food.
You may be a candidate for weight-loss medicine if your BMI is 30 or higher, or if your BMI is 27 or higher and you have medical problems related to your weight. Weight-loss medicines should always be combined with a healthful diet and regular exercise. Your doctor can help you determine whether weight-loss medication is right for you.
11. Is weight-loss surgery a good idea?
* According to the NIDDK, surgery may be the best option for severely obese people who are unable to lose weight through diet and exercise or who have serious obesity-related health problems. Surgery promotes weight loss by restricting food intake and, in some cases, by interrupting the digestive process. You may be a candidate for weight-loss surgery if your BMI is 40 or more, or if your BMI is 35 or more and you have weight-related health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease, according to the NIDDK.
12. Where can I go to learn more?
* To find out more about weight management, visit our "Weight management" Health topic center, use the "Health library search," or click on the "Search for related stories" link at the bottom of this page. You can also find out more at these Web sites:
The American Dietetic Association, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
-- Blue Cross, Blue Shield & Amanda Eickhoff, Wellness Program Assistant, Wellness Center, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-0210