Obesity

Introduction

The term obese is used to describe a person who is very overweight, with a lot of body fat.

It is a common problem in the U.K. and it is estimated to affect one in every four adults and about one in every five children aged 10 to 11.

The most widely used method to check for a healthy weight is body mass index (BMI). This measures to see that you are a healthy weight for your height. You can check here NHS BMI Calculator  However, BMI doesn’t tell the whole story as it doesn’t distinguish between fat and muscle meaning an athlete may fall into the “overweight” category.

A higher percentage of body fat is associated with an increased risk of developing certain diseases such a heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, certain cancers and a higher risk of early death.

There are several warning signs that may indicate obesity.

Symptoms of Obesity

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased perspiration
  • Snoring
  • Inability to cope with sudden physical activity
  • Feeling very tired all the time
  • Back and joint pain
  • Low confidence and self esteem
  • Skin problems
  • Depression

Causes of Obesity

Eating and drinking more calories than you burn causes weight gain.  The excess calories you consume are stored as fat.  You should bear in mind that some medical conditions or medication cause weight gain.

A higher percentage of body fat is associated with an increased risk of developing certain diseases such a heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, certain cancers and a higher risk of early death

Treatments for Obesity

There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your weight:

Losing weight requires a change of eating habits and becoming more active. This can be starting with small changes that will add up to making a real difference:

  • Eating the right portion size
  • Eating a healthier diet
  • Read food labels and avoid foods labelled in red
  • Be more active

Medication for Obesity

Orlistat is the only medication available in the UK for weight loss. Your psychiatrist may prescribe it if they feel it is appropriate.  It is only available on prescription. Orlistat works by preventing around a third of the fat from the food you eat, from being absorbed. This will prevent you from gaining weight but may not help you lose weight.

Therapy Approach for Obesity

Talking with a mental health professional can help address emotional and behavioural issues associated with eating.  Therapy can help you understand why you over-eat and give you healthy ways to cope with underlying mental health conditions, which might be contributing to your over-eating.  You can also learn how to monitor your diet and exercise.  Understanding what triggers your eating desires and coping with food cravings will also be important in addressing this.

Outcomes

Evidence shows that weight loss is more successful if it involves multiple strategies including diet, lifestyle changes and exercise. It is also important to avoid weight gain following a successful weight loss programme.  If you revert back to your old habits the weight will return.  Increasing your physical activity each day and continuing to be mindful of your eating, should maintain the weight loss.

Find a clinician for help with obesity

In order to see one of our clinicians, patients first need to obtain a GP referral.

Our Clinicians