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Focus on Overall Health and not the Weight Scale

By: Sarah Pratt, MD, ProMedica Weight Loss Surgery

 

Recently, there have been many headlines about pandemic weight gain after The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study that determined the average American gained just over seven pounds over the past year.

 

The pandemic has affected everyone a little differently. Many people have been dealing with a complete upheaval of their daily routine and have been experiencing a lot of extra stress. For some people, stress causes them to eat more. Some people are also getting bored in quarantine, which leads to eating to satisfy boredom. On top of that, many gyms have been closed, making it hard for people to get physical activity in, especially in the winter.

 

Our culture tends to focus on weight in association with appearance. The number on the scale is not the most important indicator of one’s overall health. Instead, each person should determine his or her body mass index, which is one major indicator of one’s overall health.

 

To determine body mass index, or BMI, divide your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared. There are many calculators available online. A healthy BMI is between 18 and 25. 25-30 is considered overweight, and 30 and above is considered obese.

 

Obesity has been well-researched to indicate that it can lead to a shortened life span. Obesity is directly related to heart disease, diabetes, and many cancers. It has even been associated with an increased risk of more severe disease when contracting COVID-19. Obesity is also an inflammatory condition for the body, which causes impairment of the immune system and susceptibility to other diseases.

 

People of color are disproportionately affected by obesity when compared to the general public. According to the National Institute of Health, among Hispanic American women, 78.8% are overweight or obese, as compared to 64% of non-Hispanic white women.

 

The causes of obesity are complex, but we know there’s a correlation between socioeconomic status and obesity. Access to healthy food choices and safe physical activity is a serious problem for many people. There are also environmental and genetic factors that play a role.

 

Making the lifestyle changes to eat healthier and get more exercise can have considerable health benefits. It is possible to reverse the course of diseases like hypertension and diabetes and prevent the long-term risks associated with them.

 

Lowering your BMI has been shown to cause an increase in energy levels and often a decrease in joint pain. Fortunately, overly strenuous exercise is not required to improve BMI, but some physical activity is recommended.

 

The weather is getting warmer, and walking is an ideal way to increase physical activity. Metroparks Toledo offers a wide array of trails and activities, and there is a Metropark within five miles of every front door in Lucas County. Individuals can contact Metroparks staff by calling 419-407-9700 if there are any accessibility needs. Additionally, there are several city and community parks across our region.

Outdoor exercise is not only good for your physical health, but it’s also good for your well-being. It’s a great social activity, as you can meet up with a friend and still allow for physical distancing. So, be sure to get out and enjoy the warmer weather!

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/20/21 13:23:44 -0700.

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