What is Obesity

Smart Food Now : Obesity is a chronic disease. 2015 was the year where the Canadian Medical Association recognized obesity as a chronic disease. For decades, obesity was recognized as a risk factor to develop other complications such as diabetes and hypertension.

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Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses causes of obesity.

Quiz: Do You Understand Obesity?

Test your knowledge by answering the following questions:

Questions
True
False
1

Diabetes is associated with obesity.

Explanation:
Many medical problems such as diabetes, stroke and heart attacks are associated with being overweight or obese.
2

A BMI over 25 is considered obese.

Explanation:
A Body Mass Index (BMI) between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight. BMI is a statistical measurement of your height and weight. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.
3

Going on a crash diet can lower the metabolism.

Explanation:
Muscle mass effects the metabolic rate. Crash diets can cause muscle loss which can slow the metabolism.
4

There are medication options for people with obesity.

Explanation:
Yes, commonly prescribed weight loss medications include orlistat, phentermine, buproprion and naltrexone. These medications may be prescribed when other lifestyle changes have not proven effective.
5

Sleep habits are not associated with obesity.

Explanation:
Sleep habits are associated with obesity. Other common reasons include consuming too many calories, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and certain medications.
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Dr. Alexandro Zarruk, MD, MSc., FACP, FRCPC, Internal Medicine, explains what body systems break down when a person has obesity.

What Are The Causes of Obesity?

The question of what causes obesity is a difficult one.

It’s not purely one simple factor. There are multiple factors that come together that cause people to gain weight. The first factor is genetic. If you have relatives that are overweight you’re at risk for gaining weight.

And then, your diet, what you’re eating, your lifestyle, exercise are all critical components to bring about weight gain. There are some medical conditions that will predispose to weight gain.

Anything that is affecting your sleep adversely will put you at risk for gaining weight, whether that is a primary sleep disorder, sleep apnea, or an overly busy lifestyle that deprives you of sleep will set the stage for weight gain.

There are a number of specific medical conditions that increase the risk of obesity, and that list will include depression, chronic pain syndromes, sleep disorders, individuals who have limb problems, lower limb problems and you can’t walk or exercise, or in men a specific cause is actually low testosterone, which has been shown to increase the risk of weight gain and, in fact, diabetes.

For those reasons, it’s important to identify if you have one of those specific conditions predisposing to weight gain so you can deal with it specifically in addition to treating diet and lifestyle factors. So, discuss it with your primary care practitioner.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Victoria, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses dieting & obesity.

Obesity and Dieting - Lifestyle Change Verses Crash Diets

Obesity is a long-term issue for most patients, and so it needs a long-term solution.

While crash diets are attractive in so far as they make the scale look better, they’re not the solution. Medically, you want to keep your weight down over many, many years, and thereby, hopefully, decrease your risk of heart disease, and cancer, and the other risks that are associated with obesity.

Losing weight for six months, 12 months, two years, again, is not undesirable, but medically we want you to keep the weight off over a longer period of time. People tend to gravitate back to their usual diets and lifestyle, and so the effect is lost and after three, four, five years, they’re back to their weight they were before.

Another medical concern about crash diets or fad diets where you rapidly lose weight is that while you’re losing fat you’re also losing muscle. That’s actually disastrous. It’s a general rule as we age as human beings never to do something that will jeopardize your body’s muscle.

The muscle determines your metabolic rate, so if you undergo a crash diet and you lose muscle, after you come off the diet and your muscle mass is lower, your metabolism is lower. If you then eat the same food that you had before, with a lower metabolic rate you’re gonna gain weight, and that is a simplistic explanation for yo-yo dieting where you lose the weight, you rebound, and you end up weighing more two years later than you did when you started. Local Registered Dietician 

So, it is important, therefore, that exercise and thereby maintenance of your muscle mass is an integral part of any weight reduction strategy for sustainability of that strategy. So, it’s important to discuss this with your healthcare providers, your exercise specialist, and address the obesity issue over the long term.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Victoria, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

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