14 February, 2024

A Comprehensive Approach to Weight Management

Here at Gut Theory Total Digestive Care, we specialize in comprehensive weight management to include nutrition to non-invasive bariatric weight loss procedures. Many people google “Is obesity a disease?” because they often don’t know how serious the issue of obesity is. We go beyond the physical aspects of weight management – we recognize obesity as a disease and strive to create an environment to find customized solutions for our patients. In this blog post, we will dive into the intricacies of obesity, debunk myths, and shed light on our comprehensive approach to obesity management.

When Was Obesity Declared A Disease?

After many years of debates and public discussions on the topic, in the summer of 2013, delegates of the American Medical Association did the voting as the result of which obesity was finally recognized as a disease, a health condition that should be treated or prevented. This was one of the most significant achievements that allowed us to take the issue of weight management more seriously and tackle it more effectively saving lives and the health of millions across the world.

Understanding Obesity as a Disease

The Obesity Medical Association defines obesity as a chronic, relapsing, multi-factorial, neurobehavioral disease that promotes adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal fat mass physical forces that result in adverse metabolic, biomechanical, and psychosocial health consequences. It’s long but encompasses just how multi-faceted and difficult this disease process can be to treat!

Why Is Obesity A Disease?

Research reveals a multitude of factors that influence weight gain, including genetics, epigenetics, environment, prenatal exposures, chemical exposures, stress, food marketing, microbiome, sleep, behavior/habits, reduced physical activity, drug-induced factors, cultural factors, and endocrine (hormonal) influences, as well as a reduced basal metabolic rate.

We must first understand these factors to decipher which may contribute to each person’s journey which then, allows for their effective treatment.

Shifting Biases

Now that obesity is finally recognized as a disease, we have the obstacle of changing societal views as well. Patients have been told repeatedly that they should simply “eat less and move more.” They are made to feel this is a moral failing and a lack of effort on their part.

Since we know that some patients have other factors that create added hurdles to achieving weight loss, we now have additional tools such as anti-obesity medications, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, gastric balloon, or bariatric surgery. But, many patients are wary of these options, because society has mislabeled these options as “the easy way out.” This has complicated doctor-patient relationships, as patients often feel like failures and are reluctant to share their challenges even with close family and friends. Which creates a sense of hiding and an additional layer of shame. To dismantle this, we have to start to have real discussions about science to dispel myths and have a more compassionate dialogue surrounding this health concern affecting >40% of our population.

How Do We Do This?

Obesity demands a comprehensive care approach. We have to train healthcare providers on appropriate medical assessments, prescribing guided lifestyle changes, personalized nutrition counseling, fitness goals, and mental health follow-up to cover all aspects of a patient’s well-being. In addition to consistent follow-up to prescribe additional goals with each visit based on prior success.

It is imperative to have a flexible approach. We must understand that every individual journey is unique and many will require anti-obesity medications, endoscopic bariatric procedures such as the gastric balloon and endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, as well as surgical options like gastric bypass and gastric sleeve.

We must also have widespread coverage from insurance companies. We are actively advocating for coverage that recognizes obesity as the disease it is. Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the care they need for effective weight management.

At Gut Theory Total Digestive Care, we are committed to providing comprehensive and compassionate care for individuals dealing with obesity. By understanding obesity as a complex disease and advocating for unbiased treatment options, we aim to shift the narrative, dispel myths, and create a supportive environment for those on their weight management journey. Together, let’s combat negativity and work towards a healthier future.

Happy Gut Health,

Dr Laster

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