Tag Archives: obesity

How to Reach Your Fitness #Goals (Part 2)

It is no secret that carrying extra weight can be damaging to your health but it can be difficult to stay motivated while trying to shift those extra pounds. In Part 1, we looked at some tips and tricks to help make your fitness journey a success in, now for a few more:

Choose a Healthy Lifestyle Over a “Diet”

Those who participate in the latest weight loss trends and diet programs to no avail may be looking at weight loss from the wrong angle. It shouldn’t be all about shedding weight fast for bikini season or an  for an event. Set your sights on the long-term and aim for a healthier overall lifestyle that involves nutritious eating and regular exercise. By thinking in the “diet mindset”, you will likely continue to struggle with losing weight only to put it back on (the phenomenon known as ‘yo-yo dieting’). However, by thinking “healthy living”, you will continue down a path to better health only to keep seeing positive results along the way.

Redefine Your Reward System

If you usually go to junk food as a reward, that might be a problem as you continue toward your fitness goals. It is one thing to reward yourself occasionally with a tasty treat but for day-to-day rewards, it may help if you start allotting yourself other enjoyable things such as a new movie, a relaxing drive in your car, some time for art or adult coloring or a massage.

Be Your Own Cheerleader Instead of Your Own Critic

Most of us are our own worst critics, ready to harp on all our little missteps instead of celebrating our successes. You can turn yourself off of fitness by being too hard on yourself and associating exercise with self-reprimanding thoughts. If you miss a workout day or fall off the cookie-free wagon, don’t be so quick to berate yourself. Instead, simply get back on track as soon as you can and continue toward your goals. If you lose even a pound or two at your weigh-ins, pat yourself on the back. This stuff is hard work, so give yourself props when due! By believing you will reach your goals, you are much more likely to do so than if you convince yourself that you can’t.

Surround Yourself With Supporters, Not Haters 

Some people work out better with a pal, so if you have a friend who supports or shares your desire to shape up, try for a routine of exercising together. Adversely, if there are people who bring you down or hinder your health goals with negative comments, try to avoid or block them out. No one needs flack from the peanut gallery! By learning to focus on compliments people give you while filtering out negative comments, you’ll be in a better head space to continue your weight loss journey for you.

Health Should Be a Prime Motivator  

Forget about the mirror for a second. Being obese or overweight can directly contribute to such life-threatening illnesses as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer. So, if you are overweight, give yourself the gift of a healthier future by shedding those extra pounds. If you lose weight just to look good for others, it likely won’t stay off. Make your fitness goals for the right reasons. Intrinsic motivating factors such as wanting to be healthier and live a longer life or look better for yourself, will give you a much better shot at success than if you are only losing weight to impress or please other people. Remember, it’s not about looking good to others, it’s about feeling good for you!

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope our tips can help you reach your fitness #goals!





A Look at Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity rates have been steadily climbing over the past few decades which bodes ill for the future health status of our children. Let’s take a look at some of the facts:

  1. From 1980 to 2012, the percentage of children under 12 who were obese rocketed from 7% to 18%.
  2. In 2013 over 42 million children in the world were obese.
  3. Approximately 70% of obese children already have one or more heart disease risk factors such as high cholesterol or blood pressure.
  4. Obese children are more prone to such health complications as joint problems, sleep conditions and psychological issues such as low self-esteem.
  5. Obese children are at greater risk of developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
  6. The number of children with type 2 diabetes has risen 5% of all newly diagnosed cases in 1994 to approximately 20% of newly diagnosed cases today.
  7. Studies show that obese toddlers and children are more likely to be obese as adults
  8. Schools can help reduce the rates of childhood obesity by implementing policies like mandatory fitness classes, health lessons that teach about the dangers of obesity as well as serving healthier lunches.

Tips for Parents to Help Curb Childhood Obesity

While schools can help prevent or reduce childhood obesity, parents can have the most influence. Here are some tips for parents to help their child maintain a healthy weight:

  1. Make steps toward a healthy diet for your whole family – try to cut out or drastically reduce intake of high fat snacks like chips, bars and cookies, and stock up on fruits and veggies. Also try to introduce more healthy protein like meat, beans and whole grains, limit sodium, reduce portion sizes and encourage everyone to drink more water.
  2. Use substitutions to make favorite family dishes healthier.
  3. Promote physical activity by exercising as a family.
  4. Encourage your children to participate in extra curricular sports like karate or tennis.
  5. Send your children outside to play with friends – children should get approximately an hour of physical activity daily.
  6. Set a technology time limit for your family – there is a strong link between too much screen time and childhood obesity.

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Is There a Healthier Sub-type of Obesity?

The concept of ‘metabolically healthy obesity’ (MHO) has recently been circulating through the medical community, causing a few ripples as it goes. It refers to individuals who fall into the ‘obese’ body mass index (BMI) category, but according to a few criteria, may not be at the same heightened risk of disease that most obese people are.

What Criteria Define Metabolically Healthy Obesity?

There is little consensus on the exact details of MHO, however, Dr. Hu of Harvard Health maintains that obesity is not a homogenous category of people. He has outlined the following criteria to help better define MHO:

  • A waist less than 40 inches for a man or 35 for a woman
  • Good overall fitness
  • Normal sensitivity to insulin
  • Normal blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol

The Concept is Highly Debated

Many medical professionals argue that just because a ‘metabolically healthy’ obese person exercises frequently or doesn’t currently have any indicators of ill health doesn’t mean they soon won’t develop issues. There is such a vast sea of research and scientific proof linking obesity to hundreds of medical conditions that suggests an obese person who is active and shows no current signs of insulin resistance or heart problems is still at a higher than average risk of developing future complications because of his or her weight.

The Bottom Line About Obesity

Weight isn’t always a perfect indicator of health or disease risk. Skinny people often develop heart disease or high cholesterol if they don’t lead a healthy lifestyle and sometimes those who are obese don’t develop many health issues and can be overall healthier than smaller people. Thus, there very well may be a MHO phenotype that can help stave off illness for longer. However, scientifically speaking, people who are obese (with a BMI of over 30) are at elevated risk of developing many diseases such as some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other troublesome conditions. So, just because someone who is excessively overweight doesn’t have health problems in the present won’t guarantee them immunity from obesity-related risks in the future. The best way to lower the risk of obesity-related conditions is not only to exercise routinely, but also to eat a healthy diet that is high in produce and low in animal fats, saturated fats and simple carbohydrates and to attend medical checkups regularly.

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20 Conditions That Are Linked to Obesity

Obesity occurs when a person’s weight is over 20% higher than the healthy range for their height, or a person who has a body mass index of over 30. People who are obese have excess body fat than puts them at higher risk of developing many health complications such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

20 Conditions That Can be Influenced by Obesity

Of course not all people with these conditions are obese, and not all obese people will go on to contract health problems such as these. Diseases are complex, and often develop from a culmination of different risk factors such as lifestyle or family history. However, people who are obese are at much greater risk of developing these health problems or worsening existing health issues such as these:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Gallstones
  3. Osteoarthritis
  4. Gout
  5. Fatty liver disease
  6. Pregnancy complications
  7. Skin problems
  8. Lymphedema
  9. Atherosclerosis
  10. Metabolic disorders
  11. Cardiovascular disease
  12. Stroke
  13. Kidney disease
  14. Asthma
  15. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
  16. Hypertension
  17. High cholesterol
  18. Sleep apnea
  19. Clinical depression
  20. Certain types of cancer

What Can You Do To Lower These Risks?

The best way to lower your risk of developing these health problems is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking or drinking in excess. If you are obese or overweight, try your best to lose enough weight to fall into a healthy range for your height. If you are having problems losing weight on your own, talk to your doctor (or one of ours!) today for help, such as a referral to a dietitian or individualized medical advice. 

Find the Right Exercise for You

Not everyone is a “gym person”, but where are plenty of ways to workout that don’t involve expensive memberships and other people. Take a look through some of our fitness posts:

50 Exercises You Can do Almost Anywhere

Hobbies That Can Double as Exercise

10 Simple Ways to Exercise Around the House

7 Fall Fitness Ideas

5 Strange but Cool Workout Trends

Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any health-related concerns, our board certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you.

Medical Causes of Weight Gain (Part 2)

More often than not, weight gain is caused by non-disease factors such as lifestyle changes, but sometimes it can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. In Medical Causes of Weight Gain (Part 1) we outlined six underlying medical conditions that can cause unwanted weight gain: depression, Cushing syndrome, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovaries, cirrhosis and acromegaly. Now we’ll take a look at another four illness causes, as well as some non-disease causes of unintentional weight gain.

  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a painful female condition where the body produces too much androgen which can lead to weight gain, serious pelvic pain, extremely painful periods and in some cases infertility.

  1. Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney disease cause a build-up of fluid in the limbs and abdomen which presents as rapid weight gain. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can also cause swelling of the ankles, extreme fatigue, problems urinating (such as blood in the urine) and nausea. CKD can be life threatening so it is important to get these symptoms checked out by a professional.

  1. Lupus

Lupus is a serious systemic (effects the entire body) autoimmune disease which has multiple forms and causes a host of unpleasant and dangerous symptoms. Some of the countless symptoms of lupus include fatigue, swelling, joint and body pain, hair loss and unintentional weight loss or weight gain.

  1. Ovarian Cancer

Many cancers cause weight loss, but ovarian cancer is usually the opposite. Along with sudden unwanted weight gain, ovarian cancer may also cause stomach, vaginal, pelvic pain or discomfort. It can also lead to swelling (such as chronic bloating), constipation and problems urinating, often including blood in the urine. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for a while, you should contact your doctor or gynecologist for an exam.

Other Reasons For Weight Gain

  • Medications – there are many medications that can lead to weight gain as an unwanted side effect. Some of these include: steroids like prednisone, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-seizure medications, antihistamines, beta blockers and diabetes medications, just to name a few.
  • Menopause – menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s menses. It sometimes takes women by surprise, starting earlier than expected and causing a varied array of symptoms. Menopause often leads to weight gain due to a combination of metabolic and hormonal changes.
  • Aging – Your metabolism starts slowing down as you age, leading to a lower basal metabolic rate (BMR). A low BMR makes it more difficult to burn off calories, leading to excess fat.
  • Lifestyle changes – before you hit the panic button after reading about these diseases, remember that most cases of weight gain are caused by alterations in lifestyle such as decreased exercise and changes in diet in combination with an age-related metabolism relaxation. However, if you are experiencing some of the additional symptoms we looked at in Part 1 and Part 2 along with your weight gain, it may be time to talk to your doctor about running some tests (at least for peace of mind).

There you have it! Some of the potential medical causes of weight gain. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you have any questions about some of the conditions or symptoms we’ve outlined or have any other health-related inquiries please don’t hesitate to sign up today for a video consultation with one of our top-tier, board certified DocChat physicians!



Is BMI A True Indicator Of Fitness?

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a formula of total body weight in pounds divided by overall height in meters that was created by the National Institutes of Health in 1998. It was established to measure fitness, or more specifically whether a person falls into a ‘healthy weight’ category. For years health professionals and exercisers have been using BMI has the go-to tool to distinguish ‘fat’ from ‘fit’, but there have always been questions surrounding its true effectiveness to deem a person’s health. Recently new studies have brought new doubts to light about the BMI’s effectiveness as a health marker.

BMI Categories

The current BMI indicator values are:

Underweight: Body fat percentage of less than 18.5
Healthy Weight: Body fat percentage of between 18.4 and 24.9
Overweight: Body fat percentage of 25-29.9
Obese: Body fat percentage of over 30
(You can calculate your BMI here.)

Supporting Arguments For BMI

Many medical professionals argue that BMI is an inexpensive, standardized and accessible weight category screening tool. But these professionals likely realize the limitations the BMI calculator carries, and won’t use it as a sole indicator of a person’s health. It was created to be used as a general healthy weight guideline, giving people a good goal category to try to achieve. Falling in the ‘healthy weight’ category may reduce a person’s risks of obesity and weight-related health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. However, a BMI category does not make or break a person’s overall health.

Why BMI Isn’t a ‘One Size Fits All’ Tool 

The BMI system is flawed because it cannot differentiate between different types of fat or muscle mass. Therefor those who are very muscular or densely built may show as “overweight” or “obese” when they may be in excellent health. Women with certain shapes may show as “unhealthier” than they really are because BMI can’t distinguish between proportion either. For example, a very busty woman with little visceral fat elsewhere may show up in the wrong category. Similarly, some people may be very physically fit but is naturally a little on the heavier side who is wrongfully categorized as well. In these cases, a BMI isn’t the best tool to tell whether these people are ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy”.

New Studies Say “Back To The Drawing Board” 

According medical writer Catharine Paddock, PhD, new studies bring some startling concerns to light such as misclassification and discrimination when it comes to employers and insurance companies unfairly penalizing people for BMI status. One particular study found that cardiometric testing proved that over 50 million Americans who were classified as overweight or obese by their BMI results were actually in perfect health, while 21 million who were categorized as “healthy” by BMI standards were in actuality very unhealthy. Basically a person can be larger than another person but exercise much more, perform better in cardiovascular assessments and lead healthier lifestyles than the smaller person. Unfortunately, many employers and insurance carriers in the United States rely too heavily on the BMI index to decide whether a person gets certain coverage or health benefits. This is clearly not a fair way to dole out benefits.

In bref, the BMI calculator is a great tool to help motivate people to reduce body fat to a healthier range, but it simply cannot be solely relied upon to determine a person’s fitness or overall health. There are too many confounding factors and personal variances for the BMI to be very accurate across the board. Thanks for visiting DocChat, we hope you’ll be back soon!

Our Most Sedentary Generation

Ever notice there are never as many children outside playing kickball and tag than there were ten years ago? Many playgrounds are ghost towns nowadays compared to the bustling microcosms they once were. Unfortunately, more children lead sedentary lives today than any generation before.

Inactive Children Outnumber The Active

According to a government census study, only 1 in three children are physically active on a daily basis. Children are meant to be active, as their bodies grow faster than those of adults. Children also consume more calories per body-size than adults in order to grow at a healthy rate, so they have extra energy that needs expending. Every child should get at least one hour of activity a day, whether that means playing outside, jumping on a trampoline or participating in an extra curricular sport.

Childhood Obesity

The World Health Organization states that as of 2013, 42 million children were considered overweight or obese. Even with government effort concentrated on curtailing childhood obesity over the last several years, the number of obese and overweight children are still too high.

Technology Stifles Activity

On average, children and teens ages 8-18 spend over 7 hours a day using or viewing technology. With so many kids opting for the TV or iPad over playing sports or neighbourhood games, it is no wonder activity levels have been steadily declining while obesity rates have been on the rise over the last 40 years. Between school, meals, homework and hours of dedicated technology use, there is little time left over for playing outdoors or exercising.

Hindered Social Skills

According to a study conducted by UCLA psychologists to measure sixth graders’ recognition of facial expressions, children who didn’t use technology in the preceding 5 days performed exceedingly better at identifying the correct emotions than those who used it every day. Furthermore, recent research suggests tweens and teens who use social media frequently put more effort into establishing surface-level ‘online’ friendships than real ones which appears to impact face-to-face social skills. Recent research done on video games in particular showed that average use of non-violent games didn’t have much impact on social skills, but excessive playing of violent video games was correlated with feelings of isolation, anger, and impaired social interactions.

Inactive Children Become Sedentary Adults

Less than 5% of American adults participate in the recommended 30 minutes of exercise daily, and less than 1 in 3 reach the weekly recommended amount of exercise. Sedentary lifestyles come with significant risks. Not everyone who is sedentary has a weight problem, but inactivity can be a precursor to cardiovascular disease no matter your size. Studies show that routine exercise promotes heart and brain health, mental health and overall wellbeing. If you are obese and inactive your risks for developing health complications are higher than someone who is inactive but of normal weight. Diseases that are directly correlated to obesity include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer among many others. So children who develop the habit of living inactively early on are likely to continue their unhealthy lifestyles, increasing their risk of developing inactivity or obesity related health conditions later in life.

Thus concludes our look at children and inactivity, stay tuned for our article on exercise ideas for the whole family next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


5 Diseases Caused by Obesity


It’s easy to know which foods are bad and which are good, but it doesn’t make it any easier to make good decisions when you’re feeling peckish.

More than mere appearance, obesity is seriously bad for your health.

According to medical sciences, you are considered obese if your weight is twenty percent more than the weight considered as standard for your height, calculated by your BMI. While BMI isn’t perfect (some people are muscular and therefore weigh more while others are extremely tall), the correlation between obesity and serious diseases is extremely high.

Here are 5 diseases that are caused by obesity:

Stroke and Heart Disease

If you have extra weight, you will be more prone to high cholesterol as well as high blood pressure. These conditions are some of the leading factors that can cause stroke or heart disease, but all are not doomed. Medical experts suggest that if you lose some proportion of your weight then you can also decrease the likelihood of stroke or heart disease. Just five to ten percent of weight shedding should be enough for you to lower your chances of contracting the diseases.

Diabetes (Type 2)

It is commonly observed that individuals that have type 2 diabetes are either obese or overweight. So, if you want to cut down your chances of having diabetes, you can do so by shedding weight. You must practice consuming a balanced and healthy diet, exercising, and getting the right amount of sleep. Even if you have diabetes, you should attempt to lose weight and to be physically more active since this will allow you to better manage your body’s blood sugar proportions. Moreover, if you are active, your body might demand lesser levels of diabetes medication.


Several types of cancer such as of the kidney, esophagus, and colon are associated with obesity. Recent studies have also found out that obesity is associated with cancer of the pancreas and gallbladder. The treatment of cancer is a very lengthy and costly process that is often very painful for the patient, not to mention that cancer can have grave consequences. So wouldn’t it be better if you try to avoid the disease altogether?


Gallstones as well as gallbladder disease are more likely to afflict an overweight person rather than a normal or underweight individual. But beware, as medical science tells us that weight loss (especially rapid loss of large proportions of weight) can also lead to the acquisition of gallstones.

So, if you are obese, it is important that you shed fat in a slow and timely manner. For instance, lose just one pound in seven or eight days at most. This will surely allow you to avoid having gallstones.


This is a joint condition that frequently affects the back, hip or knee area of the body. If you are obese, your body will naturally carry extra weight which will put pressure upon the aforementioned joints. This negatively affects the cartilage that usually safeguards them.

By losing weight, you will put less stress on your lower back, hips and knees, thereby reducing your chances of attaining osteoarthritis.

Losing Weight Is Hard

There’s no doubt about that, but small steps taken each day can lead to results. It’s important to remember that the benefits of losing weight go far beyond appearance. Immediately after eating healthier meals, the following will happen:

  1. you’ll feel more energetic
  2. you’ll sleep better
  3. you’ll have better cognitive function
  4. you’ll start to recall facts and items that you previously couldn’t remember
  5. your mood will improve
  6. you’ll become more productive
  7. your appetite will decrease

Just remember that every positive action taken towards a healthy diet is a victory. You can’t expect it all to happen at once. You will build the habits you need in time once your brain recognizes the association between the healthy action and the positive effect.

Be well and #thrive!

man is unable to close his pants because of gaining weight

Some Scary Facts about Obesity

Obesity is one the biggest problems that has the plagued 21st century. According to recent research, 34.5% or 7.6 million Americans are overweight and obese, yet it seems that these official statistics are underestimated. Certain interest groups are quite relieved that this issue is not discussed properly. Putting on a few pounds might not affect your physical appearance, but the health consequences can be much more severe and in some cases fatal. Let’s have a look at some of the major issues that can be caused by being overweight.

Heart Disease:

Obesity has much more to do with just appearance. It affects the internal organs and their functionality as well. Carrying around some extra fat puts a heavy stress on your heart and the fattening foods clog the arteries and boost up your cholesterol levels. Both of these changes put the heart at risk.

Kidney and Liver Diseases:

With high percentages of body fat, the organs need to work hard to function properly and satisfy the need of the body. Fat reserves in the liver can cause lifelong problems and also damage the liver itself. In the same way, these increased fats can jack down your kidney’s abilities to filter waste materials which is life threatening in most cases.

Muscles and Skeletal Disorders:

Excess fat means increased body weight. This places a heavy burden on your bones, joints and muscles which lead to pain and debilitating health conditions which will last your entire lifetime. This is caused by the wearing-away of tissue that is present at the joints.


Insulin regulation in the body is mostly affected by being overweight, which leads to diabetes. This is mostly caused by weight gain, so keep your pounds under control to prevent such disease. In many cases diabetes is hereditary; but being overweight increases your chances of being diagnosed with it in the future.


Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases known to man. Believe it or not, obesity can lead to different types of cancers including breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer.

Pregnancy Difficulties:

Pregnancy is a very exhausting time, and if you are obese then it makes the pregnancy, labor and delivery even more difficult. Morning sickness, drowsiness, raging hormones and severe headaches are a common side effect of pregnancy. However, overweight pregnant women often complain of other issues as well particularly high or low blood pressures and increased sugar levels.

Fitness and following a healthy routine should be a top priority of each and every individual. As they say fitness is not about being better than someone else…. It’s about being better than you used to be!

Five Health Risks Associated With Depression


Depression does not only affect your cognitive health, but also your physical health. Untreated depression can trigger several health complications, ranging from heart disease to digestive disorders. Here are the top 5 health risks associated with depression:

1. Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the most common health problems noted in people suffering from depression. When a depressed person experiences some form of heart disease, it can make them miserable. According to medical experts, when depression is coupled with heart disease, the patient’s lifespan can decrease considerably. Besides getting treatment for your depression, engaging in exercise can help you counter the depression and maintain a good heart health.

2. Digestive Disorder

Depression can lead to digestive disorder by negatively impacting your appetite. Depressed individuals have the tendency to eat too much. Increase in weight can lead to obesity, which can in turn trigger diseases like type 2 diabetes. It has also been noted that some depressed people experience loss of appetite and eat very little food. These people can suffer from stomach spasms, stomach pain, undernourishment and constipation.

3. Diabetes

Depressed individuals face a hard time maintaining healthy eating and exercising habits. This can make them susceptible to diabetes. Studies suggest that people with diabetes are prone to become even more depressed. Meanwhile, researchers have yet to unveil the correlation between the two factors, however, it has been established that one of these disorders can increase the intensity of the other.

4. Obesity

Depression can also make the patient more vulnerable to obesity, which can further aggravate the condition. Studies have unveiled that depressed people fail to understand the long-lasting health benefits of maintaining good health habits, such as cutting down on sugary foods and exercising regularly. Thus, they continue eating unhealthy foods without noticing increase in their weight.

5. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis has also found to be a major health risk associated with depression. According to experts, both older and younger women suffering from depression are more at risk of contracting osteoporosis, a serious health condition that makes the bones weaker and may lead to bone fracture. Researchers say that depression has the tendency to decrease calcium and other mineral deposits from the bones, which may result in lower bone mass. As you age, and the depression gets worse, the bone mass can further weaken and you may experience a bone fracture. It has also been found that the use of anti-depression medications for longer periods can also trigger osteoporosis.

Depression is a condition that is extremely common but unfortunately is not taken that seriously. However, as indicated above, it can give rise to some serious problems. So if you have depression or similar symptoms, get in touch with us today so we can help you overcome this condition.