Weight loss has been a continuous health trend as half of American adults look to lose excess weight. However, weight loss isn’t something that can be easily accomplished. During the pandemic, 42% of American adults unintentionally gained an average of 29 pounds. 60% of these adults have even stated that losing weight became more difficult to accomplish since the pandemic started.
Many Doctors Don’t Understand Weight Loss
Data shows that few doctors know how to address weight loss with only 56% of physicians feeling qualified to treat obesity and 46% feeling successful in their treatments. There are actually less than 50% of doctors in the U.S. trained in obesity management, which has spurred on the need for a new approach to medical weight loss. Johns Hopkins found that 21% of overweight patients felt judged by their primary care doctor and were consequently less likely to trust the person’s advice.
Another study from Johns Hopkins also found that overweight patients have a higher possibility of repeatedly switching doctors with off-putting comments or unsolicited weight advice playing a possible role. Furthermore, these “doctor shoppers” are 85% more likely to end up in the emergency room than normal-weight patients as 55% of patients with obesity have reported canceling an appointment because they are anxious about being weighed.
Medications Are Under Prescribed
Studies have also shown that weight loss medications are underutilized with just 24% of doctors accounting for 90% of weight loss prescriptions. Less than 3% of eligible patients are actually prescribed weight-loss medications such as phentermine, which was first FDA-approved in 1959. There are many safe and effective medications for weight loss on the market. For example, bupropion and naltrexone help patients lose 7-8% of their body weight after 24 weeks. Semaglutide helps patients lose 14.9% of their body weight after 68 weeks.
Weight loss is that the process itself can be as miserable as being overweight. It has deep impact on people’s health with the overweight or obese population making up 80% of people with serious mental illnesses. Obesity is also linked to a death rate that is three times that of the overall population. Depression that is associated with weight can cause physical symptoms that range from changes in appetite to trouble sleeping.
Investigations of successful weight loss patients in 1985 showed that half of these patients dropped out of the program and quickly gained weight. This is often after an emotionally painful experience. The evidence showed that adverse childhood experiences have a significant, long-term impact on health, including weight. Studies on food addiction have revealed that people it serves soothing anxiety or depression, but leads to similar behavior and physical patterns as substance abuse.
Keeping weight off is as hard as initially losing the weight, and weight loss doesn’t automatically bring mental wellbeing either. A holistic approach can meet you where you are and allows you to treat yourself right. Your weight-loss journey can end with success.