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Panal Suggests Screening Patients For Obesity

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has suggested that patients be screened for obesity by physicians.

The panel has suggested measuring the BMI ( Body Mass Index ) of adult patients.

A BMI of 30 or more would indicate that a patient is obese while a BMI of 25 or less is normal.

For patients whose BMI is 30 or higher, the task force advises physicians to refer them to weight-loss programs that use multicomponent behavioral interventions — in other words, those that combine nutritional counseling with exercise and support groups. In reviewing current studies on such programs, the government panel found that on average, they helped participants lose up to 11 lbs. over a year, or 4% of their starting weight. Even such seemingly modest reductions in initial weight can significantly improve health for obese people.

Overall, the task force found that the best weight-loss programs include 12 to 26 sessions of behavioral counseling during the first year; help patients self-monitor their eating and exercise, using food diaries or a pedometer, for instance; focus on setting realistic weight-loss goals; and help patients understand what may be preventing them from meeting those goals.

While it is projected that by 2030 forty percent of American adults will be overweight or obese, doctors are not trained to counsel patients on matters of nutrition or weight management.

Doctors who are struggling with weight issues of their own have even greater difficulty addressing weight with their patients.

Obesity In The U.S. Is Worse Than We Thought

Health officials now believe that we have underestimated the rates in obesity in the U.S.

The BMI (Body Mass Index), commonly used to measure obesity, gives an incomplete picture of a person’s physical condition.

BMI, the researchers say, is an overly simplistic measure that often misrepresents physical fitness and overall health, especially among older women. Nearly 4 in 10 adults whose BMI places them in the overweight category would be considered obese if their body fat percentage were taken into account, according to the study.
“Some people call it the ‘baloney mass index,'” says lead author Eric Braverman, M.D., president of the Path Foundation, a nonprofit organization in New York City dedicated to brain research.
Bodybuilders can be classified as obese based on their BMI, he says, while “a 55-year-old woman who looks great in a dress could have very little muscle and mostly body fat, and a whole lot of health risks because of that — but still have a normal BMI.”

BMI Isn’t the Best Measure of Fitness

Being in shape is more important than shedding pounds for most men.

Measuring BMI only can provide a false assessment of your overall health.

Consult your doctor to make sure that your weight is not causing adverse affects to your cholesterol levels, blood pressure or any other vital measurements of your fitness level.

“In the study group, fitness may be more important than BMI,” says Gillinov, who is also a coauthor of the book Heart 411. “But it is dangerous to generalize.”
Some experts have questioned whether BMI provides an accurate picture of health, since people who are very muscular can have a high BMI without having excess fat. As Gillinov puts it, “LeBron James has a high BMI.”

10 Things You May Not Know About Your Weight

There are facts about your weight which could change the way you think about your body.

A growing body of literature suggests that size doesn’t matter when it comes to your health. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine surveyed 5,440 American adults and found that 51 percent of the overweight and almost 32 percent of the obese had mostly normal cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure, and other measures of good health.

Further defying conventional wisdom, the article also reported that 23.5 percent of trim adults were, in fact, metabolically abnormal-making them more vulnerable to heart disease than their heavier counterparts.

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