When it comes to obesity, the people of Michigan can change the future.
The statistics are startling. Michigan was home to the nation’s fifth highest prevalence of adult obesity in 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. BMI is based on your weight and height. To figure out your BMI, visit www.botsford.org/BMI.
Michigan’s youth are faring better than its adults, but it’s still not a healthy picture. Youth obesity is growing in the state and as of 2009, nearly 12 percent of Michigan’s youth were considered obese.
The trend comes with worrisome health risks. These include diabetes, breathing problems, joint pain and psychological distress. Being obese can also lead to problems in the classroom. Severely overweight children and adolescents were four times more likely to report academic problems.
In addition, obese children are more likely to grow into obese adults, which can set them up for a lifetime of health problems.
Fortunately, Botsford Hospital offers a variety of programs to help Michigan’s adults and children slim down and stay healthy.
“This is a problem that is well within our power to manage,” says Derrick Williamson, D.O., family medicine physician. “In fact, awareness and education are our best tools for addressing obesity and the life-threatening health problems that come along with it. When it comes to obesity, we really do have the power to change the future.”
Getting guidance from a registered dietitian is one way for children and their families to combat obesity. At one local pediatric practice, Botsford Pediatric Associates, children with weight or health concerns can work with a dietitian to address these issues.
Children learn about good eating habits and activity levels from the dietitian, who offers personalized education on healthy diets, portion control, sample meal plans and snack options. Setting short-term goals and keeping a food diary are two other tools dietitians use to steer kids toward a lifetime of good health. Since starting nutrition counseling through Botsford Pediatric Associates nearly two years ago, nearly 200 kids have received customized help from the dietitian.
At the Botsford-affiliated South Redford School-Based Health Center, located at Pierce Middle School in Redford Township, a registered dietitian regularly visits classrooms to teach students about nutritious diets, healthy cooking techniques, how to read nutrition labels and much more.
The dietitian also works one-on-one with students with high BMIs and other weight or nutritional concerns. Students and young adults in Redford can be referred to the health center for free nutrition counseling.
Just like for children, obesity comes with health risks for adults. Obesity increases an adult’s risk of heart disease, hypertension, some cancers and type 2 diabetes. But there are resources to help keep adults away from these dangerous illnesses.
Botsford offers diabetes prevention classes for adults, which is a five-session course on healthy lifestyles for only $20. Adults can also take advantage of the hospital’s free pre-diabetes support group.
One of the keys to losing weight is exercise. Moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is safe for most people. Talk to your physician before starting an exercise program if you have heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, liver or kidney disease or arthritis.
In addition, adults with 40 pounds or more to lose can benefit from the weight management program ReNew. The program is a medically monitored weight loss plan that includes high-quality meal replacements, coaching and classes.
Through various Botsford resources, obese children and adults alike can take control of their weight – and ultimately improve their health – in a supportive environment.