Motivation to Lose: The Science Behind Obesity In America


Obesity causes many health and emotional issues that adults and children in the US face daily. Over 78 million adults and 13 million children suffer from this medical issue. There are many causes behind the problem such as poor diet, genetics, stress, lack of exercise, computers and TV, illness, and heredity are factors that contribute to obesity in America.

Research Says…

There are many weight loss programs that can help with the problem. Many stress healthy eating and exercise. Sometimes medications, behavior modification, and surgery are needed to solve the problem of obesity. Research studies have linked good nutrition and exercise as a way to control weight. 

Genetic research has found genes that increase the risk of obesity in families. The gene affects how the body burns and stores fat and is present in about 10% of the population. This boosts the risk in about 30-50% of the population. The study of these genes should lead to medications that can help control obesity. 

Research takes place in the laboratory and scientists are trying to create safe medications that help people lose weight. Many studies have shown that motivation to lose weight is best when combined with diet, exercise, and medications. Weight loss surgery for some patients is more effective than making lifestyle changes due to their inability to lose weight easily. Many volunteers in research studies conducted by scientists, researchers, and medical staff helps with learning more about obesity.

Physician Supervised Weight Loss Programs

These programs provide a weight loss program in a clinical setting. Many have physicians, nurses, registered dietitians, exercise programs, and psychiatrists. Most focus on diet, exercise, and behavioral therapy. Costs vary and some programs are covered by insurance. Often a doctor or physician’s assistant will evaluate the patient’s condition with medical exam and tests. The treatments may include behavior modification, meal replacement therapy, exercise and medications.

Behavior modification involves a diet and exercise program. They will help you design an effective menu and even provide a food log or applications that help you keep track of calories. Different facilities may help you find the right exercise or provide classes and workout facilities. You might be able to exercise on your own by walking, swimming, biking, joining a gym, and jogging.

A supervised program helps those that are seriously overweight maintain the motivation to lose weight. They provide different options on how to lose weight and keep it off. Some provide meal replacement plans that utilize shakes and products to help patients lose weight and later plan meals. They help patients plan meals, get counseling, and exercise in a supervised environment.

Weight Loss Medications

Sometimes diet and exercise are not enough for extreme weight loss. The doctor may prescribe medication along with diet and exercise. There are several medications on the market that are approved by the FDA. They are Apipex-P, Xenical, HCI,  Saxenda, and Qsymia. Most work on reducing the appetite or craving for food. These medications have side effects so supervision of a doctor is extremely important. Orlistat is a drug that is available over the counter. It is available at higher doses with a prescription. It decreases the amount of fat your body absorbs. Before taking any medications check with your doctor and get a physical exam.

Another medication commonly taken is Liraglutide. It is an injection that controls the blood sugar in the body. Patients that have taken the drug for over a year lost about 5 to 10% of their body weight. It is available as a prescription medication.

Weight Loss Surgery for Obesity

Sometimes it is hard to achieve a healthy weight with diet, exercise and medication. Weight loss surgery is an option to lower weight and risk with medical conditions. Often surgery limits the amount of food the stomach will hold and reduces the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs when eating. There are four common weight loss surgeries which are Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy, and biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch.

Most of the surgeries use a device to make the stomach smaller and in some cases the stomach is removed and decreased in size. The surgeries restrict the amount of food your stomach holds so you will feel full sooner. One other treatment method is called a Maestro Recharable System that works like a pacemaker delivering electric impulses between stomach vagus nerves and the brain. This nerve tell the stomach when it’s full. The device must be charged once a week.

The science behind obesity and weight loss is that one method does not fit all. Due to the many factors that cause obesity different patients will need different methods to succeed at weight loss. There are many methods to help those that are obese lose weight with the help of a qualified doctor and medical facility. 

By Joan Russell