Chiropractors Manage It, But You Didn’t Know – Obesity

IMG_27012Obesity is a gateway condition leading to such heavy hitters as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, various types of cancer, gallstones, and disability. It is within the scope of practice and training for chiropractors, and is a perfect fit for the chiropractic treatment model.  Regular chiropractic appointments allow for follow up, increased accountability, and provide needed structural care for your changing body.

Most people know when they are overweight, but some don’t, and even more don’t know what the term overweight means. The classifications for weight usually involve a screening system such as Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI attempts to estimate percentage of body fat. The calculation to determine BMI is mass divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2). There are many BMI calculators that will do the math for you. The National Institute of Health has a great one that you can use.

The corresponding classifications are:

Classification BMI Score
Underweight Below 19
Normal 19-25
Overweight 25-30
Obese 30-40
Morbidly Obese Greater than 40

People are overweight for different reasons, and each reason needs to be addressed differently.  The best way to manage weight is the way that works for you. There is no one method that works for everyone. Most diets are safe and work, but usually only lead to temporary weight loss. It is important to choose the method that you want to use so that you have responsibility and accountability.  The most important thing to address is willingness. Most importantly the person must desire to lose weight and be willing to begin the process. Most people know it’s bad to be overweight and know that they should lose weight, but guilt or poor self-image are not helpful motivators for true lifestyle change. You will not be able to lose weight until you really want to and are willing to accept assistance. 

Goal setting should start simple and be written. The more actions that you take (even small ones) the more likely you are to accomplish your goal, so even accomplishing the simple goal of not drinking soda for one meal is a success that you can build on. Some simple suggested goals are: asking 3 people to help you, signing up for a race or event, or even setting a goal to write down some goals. Goals don’t have to be big and the more goals achieved the better you feel about being able to accomplish future goals.  Goals can be as easy as parking at the far end of parking lots whenever going shopping. For more examples of how to increase physical activity visit ChooseMyPlate.gov or see your chiropractor.

In any change of habit or self-improvement it is always a good idea to enlist friends. They are good to be accountable to. They are good support, and may even join in the cause.  If the lifestyle isn’t maintained for long enough or enjoyable enough to make permanent, then the benefits will also be short lived. It is important to make changes permanent. 

Chiropractors may give guidance and suggestions or just provide education to a patient on nutrition or the risks of obesity. All chiropractic schools provide basic nutritional education, but most do not provide the education required to adequately address eating disorders such as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Some great financial news is that most insurance companies recognize weight issues as a health condition and will pay for your treatment.  Some will even provide help with gym memberships.  In an effort to decrease costs one provision of the new health reform law requires insurance companies to cover obesity screening and counseling with no patient cost-sharing. The New year is an excellent time to discover a new you.  Go see how your chiropractor can help.

 

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