Taking Care of You and Your Startup Health: Lose Weight in the New Year

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on January 8, 2022

During the pandemic, 42% of American adults unintentionally gained weight.  The average gain was 29 pounds.  Due to restrictions and fears caused by the pandemic, 60% of people say that losing weight has become more difficult since COVID-19 arrived.  Grief, trauma, and isolation are all serious issues that some people turn to food in an effort to cope with. Others are even shamed into weight loss.

Even before the pandemic, obesity has been a major health problem facing the country.  Despite its prevalence, only 56% of physicians feel qualified to treat obesity, and even less feel they are successful in doing so.  Under 0.5% of doctors in North America are specifically trained to manage obesity.  How can the number of obese patients and the number of doctors qualified to treat obesity be so unequal?  The problem of obesity can’t be solved in America without the help of well-informed doctors.

Judgments Hurt

One of the hardest parts of going to a doctor as an obese person is the judgement.  Johns Hopkins found that 21% of overweight patients felt judged by their primary care physician and were less likely to trust that person’s advice as a result.  55% of obese patients feel anxiety about being weighed to the point of cancelling an appointment.  Furthermore, overweight patients are more likely to repeatedly switch doctors, causing inconsistency in care and increased chances of landing in the emergency room.

Weight loss medications are underutilized in the current environment.  Less than 3% of all eligible patients are prescribed weight loss medications.  While it may be true that not every overweight person should turn to medication to shave off pounds, it is also true that many currently unmedicated individuals could benefit from the addition of medication to their weight loss journey.  The problem is not the drugs themselves; 77% of current weight loss prescriptions are for phentermine.  Phentermine was first approved by the FDA in 1959, so its effects on humans are well studied.  Patients can lose between 7 and 8 times as much of their body weight as they do with exercise and diet alone over the same period.  

Association With Mental Health

Another area of weight loss that isn’t as commonly thought about is mental health.  Weight issues have a deep impact on mental health, not just physical.  80% of the people living with serious mental illnesses are overweight or obese.  Memory and mental processes can be impaired by mental illnesses, making it difficult for patients to learn new habits, maintain motivation, and adopt the appropriate behaviors for weight loss.  For some people living with depression, eating emotionally is a coping mechanism.  Half of the adults who report a history of binge eating have also experienced depression.  

Even for those able to lose weight, keeping the pounds off is not easy.  97% of dieters regain everything they lose (or more) within 3 years.  Weight loss doesn’t automatically improve someone’s mental well being, even if certain physical aspects improve.  Losing weight is harder than most diet programs want people to believe.  Weight can be several issues wrapped together. 

By Brian Wallace Brian Wallace has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Brian Wallace is a Columnist at Grit Daily. He is an entrepreneur, writer, and podcast host. He is the Founder and President of NowSourcing and has been featured in Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times. Brian previously wrote for Mashable and currently writes for Hacker Noon, CMSWire, Business 2 Community, and more. His Next Action podcast features entrepreneurs trying to get to the next level. Brian also hosts #LinkedInLocal events all over the country, promoting the use of LinkedIn among professionals wanting to grow their careers.

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