For too long obesity has been considered a personal failing and something that could be solved if a person just showed more willpower by “eating less and moving more”. A shift in medical perceptions began in 2013 when the American Medical Association designated obesity as a chronic disease influenced by biology, environment and behavior. I spoke with two Form Health physicians, Dr. Florencia Halperin and Dr. Priya Joshi to better understand why these influences make obesity a chronic disease, and how they help people receive the treatment they deserve.
Dr. Florenica Halperin, Chief Medical Officer at Form Health, explains how our brain and hormones play a role in a person’s weight. She says, “the brain regulates hunger, fullness, our desire to eat, and metabolism.” She goes on to explain that the brain creates neural pathways that influence the hormone levels in our body that control hunger, fullness and cravings. For many, despite their best efforts, lifestyle interventions such as diet and exercise alone will not dramatically decrease their weight until the biological factors are also addressed. This is where Form Health’s board certified physicians and registered dietitians can help by treating the underlying biologic components of obesity based on an individual’s biology and needs.
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Our environment also plays a role in obesity. American Board of Obesity Medicine diplomate physician Dr. Priya Joshi explains that the contribution of our environment “is not just how we were raised in terms of lifestyle, but everything from the products that we use to the food that we consume and the additives and preservatives in that food.” Stress can also influence a person’s weight, and it’s no secret that our society is filled with potential stressors. Stress can affect the body by increasing appetite and cravings, decreasing sleep, and reducing motivation to engage in physical activity which can make weight loss more difficult. Our current environment is often working against us, but your Form Health care team can help identify small and practical modifications that can improve your environment, aim to reduce your stress and that can add up to improve metabolic health.
Our behaviors and habits impact our body weight and current trends present challenges. People are living more sedentary lives than ever before. Modern technology has made it possible for a person to work, be social, shop, and eat without ever leaving their home. For some, their relationship and habits with food can be barriers to weight loss. Often, these habits are so ingrained in a person’s routine that they go unrecognized. Dr. Halperin says, “working with a Form Health care team can help a person identify and develop practical strategies that work for them in order to lose the weight and keep it off with a long term approach.”
You deserve treatment!
Obesity no longer has to be a do-it-yourself challenge reliant on willpower alone. Dr. Joshi points out, “obesity is just like any other medical problem that deserves medical attention and assistance”. Your individual Form Health care team will partner with you to help you meet your weight loss goals, keep it off and become a healthier version of you.
How Form Health Can Help
Dr. Halperin emphasizes that to her and the entire Form Health clinical team, “weight is a vital part in any medical visit because it’s an important risk factor for current and potential health issues”. Treating obesity as a chronic disease can improve the health of an individual by reducing blood pressure, reducing blood glucose levels, improving sleep apnea, reducing the risk of certain types of cancers and improving many other conditions. Form Health’s personalized treatment approach includes nutrition, exercise, behavioral changes and medication (when appropriate). Over time, this comprehensive approach can improve overall metabolic health.
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