Weight Management (cont.)

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How do people successfully keep weight off?

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Keeping weight off requires long-term changes. No matter how successful the diet, the weight will return if someone returns to his or her pre-diet eating habits. As mentioned above, a "no-diet" approach to healthy eating based on modification of dietary habits has a better chance of success than following a highly restrictive diet for a limited time.

What are the benefits of weight loss?

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Being overweight is associated with a number of health risks and obesity (typically defined as having a body mass index, or BMI, over 30) is even more dangerous. Some of the health risks associated with overweight and obesity include the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance: Insulin resistance means that the pancreas has to produce increasing amount of insulin to allow glucose to enter cells and be used for fuel. Because fat cells are more resistant to insulin than muscle cells, people who are overweight tend to produce more insulin to keep blood glucose levels stable. Once the pancreas can no longer keep up with this increasing demand, blood glucose levels rise, leading to type 2 diabetes.
  • Cancers: Obesity has been associated with an increased risk of developing certain cancers, including colon cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining), gallbladder cancer, and breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gout
  • Sleep apnea and other breathing problems, including an increased susceptibility to respiratory infection and asthma
  • Heart failure
  • Gallstones
  • Stillbirth and hypertension of pregnancy
  • Stress incontinence
  • Increased risk of postsurgical infection and other complications of surgery
  • Infertility
  • Varicose veins
  • Reflux esophagitis

Weight reduction and maintenance of a normal body weight can diminish many of these risks.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/24/2014

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