Ohio’s Obesity Rate Among Highest in Nation

Lifestyle change alone not enough to help those considered to be obese

DAYTON, Ohio (December 10, 2015) – A recent report confirms that obesity is a growing concern in the nation, but a local doctor warns that recommended lifestyle changes may not be enough for those who need to lose enough weight to lead a healthier life.

U.S. adult obesity rates remained mostly steady – but high – this past year, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, a report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. However, five states including Ohio showed increases in the amount of obese adults. The Buckeye State was ranked No. 8 in the report’s overall listing with nearly 30 percent of its adults reportedly obese.

Mujeeb Siddiqui, DO, a surgeon with Premier Metabolic and Bariatric Associates, says the exact reason for obesity in America, or increased rate in Ohio in particular, can be hard to pinpoint, but there are certain factors that come into play.

“There isn’t just one thing that causes obesity,” says Dr. Siddiqui, who practices with Premier Health Specialists. “Everything from poor eating habits, lack of exercise, genetics and socioeconomic standing can play a role in whether a person gains weight and struggles to lose it. All of these issues are present throughout America, but in some areas of the country, it can be stronger.”

The Midwest is one area that has been found to be stronger than others in the country, according to the report, which was supported and released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This could be attributed to the area’s cold winters, eating behaviors passed down through generations, local laws that do or do not support healthier eating habits or how local terrain encourages more outdoor use, Dr. Siddiqui says.

The basic measure of obesity is the body mass index, or BMI, which takes into account a person’s weight and height. The BMI number is used to rank individuals into categories including overweight, obese, morbidly obese, and even super obese. Individuals whose BMI is between 18 and 25 are considered a normal weight. Those who have a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered overweight. Obese is a BMI between 35 and 40 and those with a BMI above 40 are considered morbidly obese.

“The higher the BMI, the greater risk a person is for health complications. Studies also have shown us that it places a person at a higher risk for early death,” Dr. Siddiqui says. “What we often don’t take into account is that the weight a person gains isn’t just what we see on the outside. It also means there is added fat around a person’s internal organs, which can have a significant impact on how their body functions.”

Increased weight is closely related to a person’s risk of developing many diseases such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, arthritis, cancer. It is estimated that nearly 78 million Americans are at-risk for these type of diseases, the report says.

Weight loss can help a person reduce their risk for developing diseases and also cause many existing diseases to go into remission. However, for most individuals, losing weight can be an incredible struggle, that if overcome, isn’t something that lasts for long, Dr. Siddiqui says.

“Behavior modification helps a person lose some weight, but not a lot of weight. So, this can be good news for someone who needs to lose 15 to 30 pounds, but if you need to lose 80, 90 or even 100 pounds it can be difficult,” he says. “We are talking about asking someone to make a radical change such as eating only 1,200 calories and working out about one hour each day. Studies have shown that 97 percent of those who are successful in losing weight through behavior modification alone often gain their weight back within a few years.”

The answer is to offer another tool to individuals. Dr. Siddiqui says weight loss surgery can be that tool that provides the support needed to help someone see a radical change in weight loss. Weight loss surgery – regardless of which option is chosen – makes a structural change to a person’s body that forces them to live within certain guidelines, he says.

“It modifies someone’s anatomy in a way that helps them to change how much they eat,” he says. “The symptoms someone would have to go through to eat more than they should are very unpleasant. This provides the boundary they need to eat healthy.”

The average person loses around 10 pounds a month or up to 120 pounds in one year following weight loss surgery. This amount of weight loss can have a significant effect on a person’s health. Many see existing diseases – such as diabetes and hypertension – go into remission. Other health issues, such as sleep apnea, can be completely resolved, Dr. Siddiqui says.

“Every person’s journey out of weight loss is different,” Dr. Sidduqui says. “But for many, weight loss can be a tool that makes the difference they desperately need.”

For more information on weight loss surgery or to find a Premier Health Specialists physician near you, visit www.premierhealthspecialists.org/weightloss.

Contact Us

Discover more about Premier Health and join us in building healthier communities in Southwest Ohio. Learn more about working at Premier Health, becoming a volunteer, and making a gift to support our mission.