Myths and Facts About Obesity
There are a number of myths about obesity and weight loss. These myths influence how people with obesity and excess weight feel about themselves, and what they believe is possible in terms of weight loss and improved health.
Myth #1: It is my fault that I am overweight.
Fact:Although unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices do contribute to weight gain, many other factors contribute as well. Genetics, the environment, some medications or medical conditions, and a culture that promotes unhealthful lifestyle choices all may contribute to obesity.
Living with obesity can be frustrating and lead to poor self-esteem. It’s important to understand that obesity is a complex disease that is not helped or solved by placing blame.
Myth #2: I can’t lose weight because I don’t have the willpower.
Fact:Weight loss is NOT just a matter of willpower. There are many contributors to both weight gain and the ability to lose weight. The human body’s energy balance and metabolism are part of a very complicated system. Fat tissue is a dynamic “endocrine organ” that is part of this system and, in obesity, functions abnormally making weight loss very difficult.
Fortunately, new scientific findings are increasing our understanding of this complex system and how to use it to fight obesity. Our doctor can help you fight back.
Myth #3: Gaining and losing weight is all about calories in and calories out.
Fact:Gaining weight is not just about how much food you eat, but can also be associated with your food choices.
Certain foods can make it difficult to lose weight. You can learn more about healthy food choices from our Nutritionist.
Myth #4: I need to lose a lot of weight to improve my health.
Fact: Studies have shown that modest weight loss of just 5-10% of your total body weight can provide improvement in type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease. If you lose just 5-10% of your current weight, you may see these health benefits. Losing greater than 10% of total body weight can result in improvements in many other medical conditions as well.
Myth #5: Obesity is caused by poor lifestyle choices
Fact: Obesity is often multifactorial
While diet and lack of exercise may play a role, there are several other factors like Stress, sleep health, hormones, chronic pain, underlying medical conditions, medications, genetics, and multiple other environmental and economic factors are contributing to the rise in obesity.
On top of this, the truth is that most people — even those at a healthy weight — don’t meet the recommended amount of physical activity each day.
For most, obesity isn’t merely the result of making poor choices in life.
Myth #6: The number of weight lost is the most important measure of success
Fact: Success should be measured by health, not weight loss
The key to long-term success is to focus on making healthy choices about your diet and exercise, not about the amount of weight you’ve lost.
Shifting the focus of success to weight-neutral outcomes, like blood pressure, diet quality, physical activity, self-esteem, and body image is more effective than using weight loss as a measure of success.
Myth #7: Increasing access to affordable fruits and vegetables will solve the obesity epidemic
Fact: Food preference and lack of education about healthy food may play a bigger role
Research suggests that education and preferences play a stronger role in making healthy food choices – more so than income and accessibility.
Improving people’s diets requires making food accessible and affordable on top of regulating the number of unhealthy food options in a community. Plus, it requires changing people’s knowledge about diet and health.
This approach includes promoting diets rich in fruits and vegetables. It also involves reducing people’s consumption of unhealthy foods.
Obesity is a complex disease. There’s still so much about it that we don’t know. Because of this, people tend to associate it with ideas that simply aren’t true.
Separating the facts from the fiction about obesity will help you better understand the disease. If you live with obesity, knowing the truth can help you get the care you need.
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