Complementary Medicine - Cam
Weight Loss and Obesity (Holistic)
About This Condition
Get the skinny on weight loss. Discover what works for you to improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading for more in-depth, fully referenced information.
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or pharmacist. Continue reading for more in-depth, fully referenced information.
About This Condition
About two-thirds of the adult U.S. population is overweight.1 Almost one-third not only exceeds ideal weight, but also meets the clinical criteria for obesity. In the 1990s, rates of obesity more than doubled, and are currently rising by over 5% per year.2 , 3 Excess body weight is implicated as a risk factor for many different disorders, including heart disease , diabetes , several cancers (such as breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and cancers of the uterus, colon , and kidney), prostate enlargement ( BPH ), female infertility , uterine fibroids, and gallstones , as well as several disorders of pregnancy, including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and gestational hypertension.4 The location of excess body fat may affect the amount of health risk associated with overweight. Increased abdominal fat, which can be estimated by waist size, may be especially hazardous to long-term health.5 , 6
For overweight women, weight loss can significantly improve physical health. A four-year study of over 40,000 women found that weight loss in overweight women was associated with improved physical function and vitality as well as decreased bodily pain.7 The risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, or other diseases increases in overweight men and women in all age groups.8 Losing weight and keeping it off is, unfortunately, very difficult for most people.9 , 10 However, repeated weight loss followed by weight regain may be unhealthy, as it has been associated with increased heart disease risk factors and bone loss in some studies.11 , 12 Rather than focusing on weight loss as the most important health outcome of a change in diet or lifestyle, some doctors advocate paying more attention to overall fitness and reduction in known risk factors for heart disease and other health hazards.13
Excess body mass has the one advantage of increasing bone mass—a protection against osteoporosis . Probably because of this, researchers have been able to show that people who successfully lose weight have greater loss of bone compared with those who do not lose weight.14 People who lose weight should, therefore, pay more attention to preventing osteoporosis.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Many doctors give overweight patients a pill, a pep talk, and a pamphlet about diet and exercise, but that combination leads only to minor weight loss.15 When overweight people attend group sessions aimed at changing eating and exercise patterns, keep daily records of food intake and exercise, and eat a specific low-calorie diet the outcome is much more successful. Group sessions where participants are given information and help on how to make lifestyle changes appear to improve the chances of losing weight and keeping it off. Such changes may include shopping from a list, storing foods out of sight, keeping portion sizes under control, and avoiding fast-food restaurants.
According to most short-term studies, the effect of exercise alone (without dietary restriction) on weight loss is small,16 , 17 partly because muscle mass often increases even while fat tissue is reduced,18 and perhaps because some exercising people will experience increased appetites. The long-term effect of regular exercise on weight loss is much better, and exercise appears to help people maintain weight loss.19 , 20 People who have successfully maintained weight loss for over two years report continuing high levels of physical activity.21 Combining exercise with healthier eating habits results in the best short- and long-term effects on weight loss,22 , 23 and should reduce the risk of many serious diseases.24 , 25 , 26
Avoid weight cycling
People who experience “weight cycling” (repetitive weight loss and gain) have a tendency toward binge eating (periods of compulsive overeating, but without the self-induced vomiting seen in bulimia ), according to a review of numerous studies focusing on weight loss.27 The researchers also found an association between weight cycling and depression or poor body image. The most successful weight-loss programs (in which weight stays off, mood stays even, and no binge eating occurs) appear to use a combination of moderate caloric restriction, moderate exercise, and behavior modification, including examination and adjustment of eating habits.
The right diet is the key to managing many diseases and to improving general quality of life. For this condition, scientific research has found benefit in the following healthy eating tips.
What Are Star Ratings?
Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
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