Understanding Obesity


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Obesity is a chronic and often progressive condition, similar to diabetes or high blood pressure.
Obesity is characterized by excess body fat that can threaten or affect your health.                  

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Organizations such as the Canadian Obesity Network, the Canadian Medical Association, and the World Health Organization now consider obesity to be a chronic disease.


Obesity is considered a chronic disease because the managing of weight is a lifelong process.
This is because your body tries to “defend” its fat stores to maintain your highest weight
(this is what researchers call “starvation response”). Therefore, when you go on a diet or
begin exercising, weight loss becomes progressively more difficult and the weight will come
back as soon as you stop or reduce your efforts at keeping it off.                   
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Individuals living with obesity face widespread weight bias and discrimination - from strangers, educators, employers, health professionals, media and even friends and family. This has negative consequences including shame and guilt, anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem and body dissatisfaction that can lead to unhealthy weight-control practices.                                                                      


Weight management is never about how much weight you can lose or how fast
you can lose it – all that matters for your overall health and well-being is how
much weight you can keep off while still living a life that you can enjoy.                        

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                lunchbox strides                                                                                                          Obesity is more than just what you eat and how much you move. It is a complex illness caused by many different factors, including your environment, genes, emotional health, lack of sleep, medical problems or even some medications you may be on.                          


Everybody is different and even with the same diet or the same amount of exercise, people
will vary widely in the amount of body fat or weight at which their bodies settle.                 

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              lightbulb strides                                               Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. In fact, obesity now outranks smoking as the biggest contributor to chronic illness in health care costs.                                                     


Here in Nova Scotia, we are losing the fight against obesity. About 25% of Nova Scotians have obesity, while another 37% are overweight. That means that almost two-thirds of Nova Scotians have either obesity or overweight. The number of obese adults in Nova Scotia tripled has in the last 30 years.

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The number of people living with obesity is still climbing in Nova Scotia, with more than one-third of Nova Scotians 
now classified as obese, creating an increased demand for bariatric surgeryThere is a considerable wait bariatric surgery, known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, but there is much more to the procedure and chronic than the actual surgery. The program involves education, mentoring, lifestyle behavior change, and chronic disease management with patients pre-surgery. This time and effort is necessary to support long-term success.

But this life-changing surgery is something people like Jenna-Leigh are 
willing to wait for.