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Obesity, also known as being very overweight, is a serious health problem. In the past 30 years the number of obese people in the UK has trebled and is set to continue to grow at a profound rate. The reasons for this huge increase are a result of changes to the way people live, work and relax over the past three decades.

Generally people develop weight problems because their calorie intake exceeds their calorie expenditure, which leads to this excess energy being stored as fat.

Stress and depression are the most immediate effects of obesity that over time leads to some very serious medical conditions that can seriously affect life expectancy and quality of life. If you believe that you are obese it is important that you act now and seek help if you believe you need it.

The definition of Obesity

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is commonly used to calculate the ratio of a person’s height to their weight. This ratio is a quick and easy way to determine whether a patient is overweight or not.  

If a person has a BMI of 25 or more but less than 30 they are considered overweight. A BMI of over 30 is considered clinically obese. 

Obesity causes and health problems

Obesity is normally the result of a poor diet and a lack of exercise, although it can be influenced by stress, insomnia, muscle loss, drug use and hormonal problems such as an underactive thyroid or polycystic ovarian syndrome.

If obesity is left untreated the immediate issues such as breathlessness, insomnia, muscular pain, sweating and gallstones will be joined by serious long term illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure and the risk of stroke.

How to combat obesity and control weight gain

Reducing your body weight by 10% has been proven to improve lung function, improve your breathing and have a marked reduction on joint pain, especially weight bearing joints such as the knee.  If you suffer from other health issues, such as hypertension or diabetes, then losing weight will help you control these conditions better.

One of the most effective ways to combat weight gain is to make lifestyle changes that improve diet and increase exercise levels. Increasing physical activity naturally increases the metabolic rate, expending calories consumed and utilising fat reserves.  A patient should slowly increase their physical activity levels to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on at least 5 days in a week. 

Although increasing physical activity is a vital component to weight loss, we understand this may be difficult for some patients, especially those with mobility problems or those patients who suffer from chronic pain.  Exercise should be initiated slowly and increased over a matter of weeks, especially if you are not accustomed to it.  Walking is a great form of exercise and doesn't require over exertion (increase your level of walking daily until you reach a goal of 10,000 steps daily).

Unfortunately, most people who lose weight on a calorie-controlled diet put it on again, with only 5% of obese people managing to keep their weight down.  A healthy weight loss using a calorie-controlled diet is between 1-2lbs per week.  This equates to a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories per week (or 500 calories daily). 

It is important to have a healthy and balanced diet and we should all be aiming for - 

  • Eating at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day.
  • Built your meals around starchy food, choosing wholemeal/wholegrain wherever possible.
  • Although dairy products are needed for the calcium content, high fat containing dairy products should be kept to a minimum (e.g. cheeses).
  • Reduce your intake of high fat food and those which are high in saturated fats.
  • Monitor and reduce the levels of salt and sugars we consume within our diet (especially sugar containing soft drinks).
  • Alcohol consumption should be kept within the recommended guidelines.
  • Adjust cooking methods so they require only a small amount of oil, such as grilling.  Alternatively choose a method which doesn't require any oil such as steaming.

The most effective way to lose weight is to combine obesity treatment with permanent lifestyle changes in both diet and exercise.  A great way to monitor progress is to keep a food and physical activity diary.  This way you can monitor what is going well and identify areas which require improvement to help you on your way to a more healthier body weight.

Picking the right time is the key to success when it comes to weight loss. Do not choose to make a fundamental change to your lifestyle if you have already committed to other changes in your life, which may increase stress and threaten the success of your weight loss, such as moving home or starting a new job.

What are the obesity treatment options?

If you have a BMI of over 30 you are classed as clinically obese and this poses an increased likelihood of serious medical issues. Slimming pills are available without prescription and are often a popular choice, however the weight loss claims are not always guaranteed.

If you have already tried dieting and increased exercise you could request a course of one of the prescripition only options offered by PrivateDoc.

Xenical (orlistat) promotes weight loss by preventing the digestion and absorption of fat in foods, with clinical trials showing 6 out of 10 patients who took Xenical with a reduced calorie diet lost 5% of their body weight in 12 weeks.

Saxenda (liraglutide) works by utiling the sugars you eat more effectively and making you feel fuller for longer.  In conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and increased levels of physical activity, patients lost on average in excess of 5% of their total body weight in the clinical trials conducted.

Mysimba (naltrexone/bupropion) works in two ways, by reducing cravings and by making you feel fuller for a longer period of time.  The active ingredients have a well established drug profile and work in combination to produce a weight loss effect, which in clinical trials showed a loss of greater than 5% body weight.

Surgical treatments for Obesity should always be used as a last resort when weight loss through exercise and a controlled diet have failed. Surgical procedures are invasive and make alterations to the patient’s body to control food intake. The procedures include gastric bands, gastric bypass, bilopancreatic diversion and sleeve gastrectomy. Private operations of this nature are performed by a surgeon and can cost as much as £20,000.

Ordering online through PrivateDoc

PrivateDoc’s doctors may prescribe to patients that have a BMI of 30 or more. The treatment options mentioned are all prescription only medication.  PrivateDoc’s doctors will assess your condition and decide the most appropriate obesity treatment for you.

To start your treatment now, complete a free and strictly confidential consultation with PrivateDoc. All consultations are free of charge, and for your convenience you can place an order during the consultation process.

Orders placed with consultations that are rejected will not be charged for.