The great Obesity weight loss dilemma
There is a debate about obesity, and what is the best solution to help those that are obese live healthy lifestyles. Many experts and researchers and medical and fitness professionals talk about the importance of a healthy weight.
On the other side, there is the recommendation to focus on the behavior change to a healthy lifestyle, instead of the number of pounds you lose.
What if I can’t lose weight?
There are benefits to both, and it is possible to combine the two. There are competing recommendations from recent research.
- First the case for the goal of attaining good health as an obese individual.
- Two researchers suggest that the risks of obesity are exaggerated. For those that are identified as having obesity (body mass index, BMI of 30 or greater) they say professionals should focus more on improving health behaviors and habits, and less on weight loss. The focus of the research is not to minimize the risks of obesity, but to emphasize that there is a group of fit obese individuals who are not at adverse risk because of their fat mass.
They point out that cardiorespiratory fitness is a stronger indicator of mortality, than obesity, and an important vital sign of health. They urge individuals to engage in a healthier lifestyle, including physical activity and a healthy diet rather trying to achieve specific weight loss targets.
Should losing the weight be the focus?
On the other hand, there is research that obesity is associated with all causes of chronic disease and mortality, specifically cardiovascular disease mortality, several forms of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. They cite the incidence of higher BMI as it correlates to poorer survival and greater likelihood of disease recurring. There is also evidence that reducing one’s weight can lower the risk of developing disease. These researchers emphasize that obesity is a dangerous health risk factor, and it should not be disregarded.
It’s about your health. Period.
There is no doubt that obesity is a risk to your health, and losing weight can benefit you. But this does not have to be the only consideration in order to improve one’s health.
I am of the belief, that focusing on the healthy behaviors, and the benefits of those changes, can improve your risk of obesity and disease. It is important to lose the weight if you are overweight or obese, but improving your health is a sensible approach, and may help you even more in the long run. Once you lose the weight, you may not be motivated to continue, but, if you are focusing on health goals and behaviors, you will continue no matter what your weight is.