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Health Tip of the Month: Obesity Education

Paula Jiron-Finn, FNP-BC works at our La Junta Clinic.

Many people struggle with their weight. In the article below, Family Nurse Practitioner Paula Jiron-Finn educates us on the effects of obesity, and how committing to living a healthy lifestyle is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.

Obesity is defined as excessive weight that may impair health.  One common way to measure this is by body mass index (BMI).  A BMI over 24.9 is considered overweight , 30 or greater is defined as obesity.

Obesity is a chronic disease and therefore the treatment of obesity must be an ongoing lifelong process. Obesity treatment must acknowledge that even modest weight loss can be beneficial. For example, a modest weight loss of 5%-10% of the initial weight, and long-term maintenance of that weight loss can bring significant health gains, including

  • lowered blood pressure
  • reduced blood levels of cholesterol
  • reduced risk of type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes (In the Nurses Health Study, women who lost 5 kilograms [11 pounds] of weight reduced their risk of diabetes by 50% or more.);
  • decreased chance of stroke
  • decreased complications of heart disease
  • decreased overall mortality

The emphasis of treatment should be to commit to the process of lifelong healthy living, including eating more wisely and increasing physical activity.  Eating too much or not being physically active enough will make you overweight. To maintain your weight, the calories you eat must equal the energy you burn. To lose weight, you must use more calories than you eat. A weight-control strategy might include

  • Choosing low-fat, low-calorie foods
  • Eating smaller portions
  • Drinking water instead of sugary drinks
  • Being physically active-cardiovascular exercise 3-5x/wk x ~ 30-45 min-find a physical activity you you love and do it often!!

Medical science has established that eating proper foods and consistent exercise can positively influence health for all age groups.   The kinds and amounts of food you eat affect your ability to maintain your ideal weight and to lose weight.  You are what you eat.   It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it!

Valley-Wide Health Systems is committed to providing information conducive to a healthy active lifestyle. For more information and to discuss your wellness journey with a provider visit us at vwhs.org.