There are a lot of misconceptions about obesity, which is one reason why severely overweight patients often hesitate to seek help. Board certified general surgeon Dr. Matthew St. Laurent’s goal is to educate Houston-area residents about obesity by providing them with accurate information that will dispel some of the myths.
What Is Obesity?
Obesity is a condition that occurs whenever an individual has a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater. Body Mass Index is actually a height-to-weight ratio and not an indicator of body fat. Obesity is more than carrying just a few extra pounds, as an obese person is considered to be at least 20% heavier than he or she should be.
Who Suffers from Obesity?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), around 34.9 percent of American adults are considered obese. Certain groups of people are more likely to become obese than others; those with the highest rate of obesity are as follows:
- Non-Hispanic Blacks (42.5%)
- Hispanics (42.5%)
- Non-Hispanic Whites (32.6%)
- Middle-Aged Adults (39.5%)
Among women, those with a college degree are less likely to be obese, while education seems to have no bearing on obesity for men.
What Causes Obesity?
Although obesity is often thought of as resulting from inactivity, there are actually several other reasons for it. A few of these include the following:
- Lack of access to healthy foods
- Medical conditions such as an underactive thyroid or Cushing’s syndrome
- Certain prescription medications
A lack of sleep has been tied to obesity as well. Exactly why this happens is not yet clear; however, researchers have discovered that people who are sleep deprived on a regular basis tend to prefer foods that are high in calories. Healthy sleep is also tied to the levels of hormones in your body that make you feel full or hungry.
What Can be Done about Obesity?
Obese patients must take drastic measures to reduce their weight to normal levels. Many of them have tried unsuccessfully over the years to lose weight through traditional diet and exercise but find their efforts produce more satisfactory results after undergoing bariatric surgery. Each patient responds differently to treatment.
Excess pounds won’t eliminate themselves and can cause devastating health effects. If you’ve struggled with diet and exercise in the past, bariatric surgery could be just what you need to reach your target weight. Contact Houston surgeon Dr. Matthew St. Laurent at 281-301-1404 to schedule a consultation.