Weight – It Is a Heavy Issue

by James Zervios

Just the facts…

  • In the United States today, there are more than 72 million adults impacted by the disease of obesity (body mass index 30-39.9).
  • Obesity does not discriminate based on race, gender or social status.
  • It is associated with more than 40 related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, infertility, erectile dysfunction, some cancers, arthritis and more.
  • The life expectancy for a 20-year-old male affected by severe obesity (body mass index >40) is 13 years shorter than a normal weight male of the same age.
  • Each year, approximately 112,000 deaths are attributable to obesity.

And yet, with all of these staggering facts, there is one thing that’s not happening – the conversation of weight between men and their doctor.

Societal norms have long made it more socially acceptable for men to “have a little extra weight.” However, that “extra weight” is now quickly catching up with our health. In an effort to ease the conversation of weight with your doctor, the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) – a national non-profit organization, has created the Your Weight MattersSM Campaign. The goal of the Campaign is simple – talk to your doctor about your weight. Now, we know this “talk” isn’t always easy, so to make things a little easier, we’ve created a toolkit that will help you prepare for the talk. By taking the Campaign challenge online, you will receive, for free, the Your Weight MattersSM Campaign toolkit (hard copy or download) which features information on weight, nutrition, exercise, treatment options, a food journal and more. When taking the challenge, you’ll also have the chance to sign-up for the Your Weight MattersSM Weekly e-newsletter. This newsletter is a great resource for helpful tips to help you improve your health and weight.

There’s no reason why, as men, we’re not having this important talk with our doctors. Many of you reading this blog post, myself included, may have dealt with weight issues at some point in your lives. You may have attempted the talk with your doctor, which usually consisted of a “Hey doc, I think my pants feel tighter.” And then we hear “Well, why don’t you try to eat a little less and exercise a little more.” The reality is that weight, especially obesity, is not that simple. If it were, we wouldn’t be facing an epidemic. We know today that obesity is a complex disease that takes into account genetics, environment, caloric intake and much more. Talking with your doctor about your weight is important and should not be difficult.

To calculate your body mass index and learn more about how your weight impacts your health, please visit www.YourWeightMatters.org. And if you feel that you could use some help preparing for that talk with your doctor, take the Campaign challenge. It’s free, you get the Campaign toolkit to help you prepare for the talk, and most importantly – you’re making a difference toward improving your weight and health.

James Zervios is the Director of Communications for the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC). He has more than 10 years of experience working in patient advocacy and is a graduate of the University of South Florida.

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