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Frequently Asked Questions 

About obesity and your health

What is a healthy weight for me?

This is a tough questions to answer. Even though many people talk about weight, what really matters is how much of your body weight is fat. The body mass index (BMI) is an approximate measure of body fat. It is based on your height and weight. A BMI between 19 and 25 is considered a normal amount of body fat. If someone’s BMI is 25 to 29.9, that person is said to be overweight. A person is said to be obese if this or her BMI is 30 or higher. The higher your BMI, the greater your risk for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. 

How can i lower my BMI?  
The best way to lower your BMI is to reduce the total number of calories you take in and to be more physically active. Long-term success is not about finding the “right” diet. It’s about identifying your behaviors that have contributed to taking in more calories than your body needs. It is also about making a plan to develop healthier eating and physical activity habits. For example, you may eat when you’re under stress rather than when you’re hungry. Choosing another activity to do when you feel stressed, such as taking a walk, may help you break the habit of eating at those times.

Why is physical activity a big deal? 
Physical activity builds muscles, so even if you don’t lose pounds, you will look and feel better when you are more active. Being active also reduces your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, even if you are overweight.  

I'm thinking about becoming more physically active. What's the best kind of activity? 
First, ask your family doctor if there is any kind of physical activity that you should not do. Being more physically active doesn’t mean you need to have a formal or complicated exercise program. Remember that the best kind of activity is the kind that you’ll keep doing. Whatever activity you choose, try to do it for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week. 

Aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking or jogging, raise your heart rate and help burn calories. The longer you exercise, the more fat your body will burn. Walking can be very helpful even if you don’t walk fast.

Light weight training also has many health benefits. It helps add muscle mass to your body. Muscle burns calories faster than fat does. 

How can I change my eating habits? 
Change them one at a time. For example, start by training yourself to eat without doing anything else at the same time. Focus on enjoying the taste and smell of your food by eating more slowly. Don’t watch TV, talk on the phone or drive a car while you eat

What's so bad about foods that are high in fat and added sugar?  
Foods that are high in fat and added sugar have lots of calories. Fat has almost twice the calories of carbohydrates and protein. Also, compared with calories that come from carbohydrates or proteins, calories that come from fat are more easily used by your body to make body fat. 

Why is skipping meals not helpful?     
Though skipping meals may work for a while, it backfires in the long run. When you skip a meal, you are likely to get too hungry, and then you may eat too much at once. 

What can I do when my friends or family members pressure me to eat?   
Sometimes a direct explanation and a request for support are enough to get people to understand that you’re trying to improve your health habits. If that doesn’t work, telling them it’s your “doctor’s orders” may do the trick. If not, you may have to avoid those people until you feel comfortable enough with you new habits to handle the pressure. 

Will diet drugs help me to lower my BMI?    
Used with a doctor’s supervision, certain medicines can help some people lower their BMI. However, they are not the secret to long-term weight loss. Easting a more healthy diet and being more physically active are the way to lose weight and keep it off. 

What is Metabolic Syndrome?        
Metabolic syndrome is commonly associated with overweight (central obesity) insulin resistant diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Although most people have never heard of it, this syndrome is quite common; it affects about one out of every four adults in the United States. Metabolic Syndrome often progresses to type 2 diabetes – and treating the syndrome can help prevent this form of diabetes. 

If you think you may have Metabolic Syndrome, it is important to discuss the possibility with your doctor so that you can undergo the appropriate diagnostic tests. Treatments for Metabolic Syndrome involve basic lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthier diet and increasing your activity level. Your doctor can help you develop a specific plan for making the necessary changes.  

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