In the June 23rd edition of the Washington Post’s POSTOPINIONS, Ken Fujioka, a diabetologist and internal medicine specialist,  published an article entitled “Where Are the New Obesity Drugs”.  (You can read the entire article here.)

In this article he states that the United States is in the midst of an “obesity epidemic” and that well over half the population is obese or overweight.

Of course, I agree with that statement especially because obesity is also linked to diabetes type II and Andrew Doughman of the Orlando Sentinel states that diabetes has more than doubled over the past 3 decades.  This is TERRIBLE!

But what bothers me is Dr. Fujioka’s  recommendation to approve new drugs for “obesity therapy” (my term, not his).  He states that “Yes, we encourage patients to diet and exercise, but those tools alone are not a realistic solution to the crush of patients I see every day. Diet, exercise and lifestyle modification are starting points. In an environment in which the pressures pushing the population toward obesity are supercharged, we need supercharged interventions.”

Diet and exercise are not a realistic solution????  Please…………….diet and exercise are EXACTLY the solutions.  But they need to be seen as a lifestyle change, not a diet and not a temporary plan to lose weight.  This kind of lifestyle change does not have to be drastic and uncomfortable.  It can be gradual and the positive effect that it will have on your life will provide encouragement to continue.  As a caregiver, we need as much energy as we can muster and we need to be mindful to care for ourselves.

It is true that some weight problems are caused by thyroid and other medical issues but for the vast majority of citizens, obesity and its accompanying medical problems can be changed by diet and lifestyle fixes.

Move more, eat less and eat the right kinds of foods.

Stay away from processed foods, diet sodas, artificial sugar substitutes and MOST FAST FOODS.

We know that in China where obesity has rarely been a problem, it is becoming one now that fast food chains such as McDonald’s have entered their environment.

Keep your kitchen stocked with easy to use healthy food choices.  It’s just as easy to grab a few strawberries and a handful of almonds as it is to heat up a toaster pastry and it’s much more healthy.  If you need to keep something at your desk, in your car or in your purse to snack on during the day, try to purchase something like a low-glycemic index nutrition bar.

Water is great for you.  Keep a jug of water in the refrigerator that is flavored with lemon, lime, orange or cucumber slices for a refreshing change.

And move…………..Work towards 10,000 steps per day or 40-45 minutes or movement per day.  Take the stairs as opposed to the elevator.  Stop visualizing the closest parking spot to the grocery store or restaurant entrance (visualize something better)!

These are just a few simple ideas.  The point is that the last thing we need is another drug in order to achieve a “quick fix”.  Drugs have side effects.  Changing the things that we eat and the amount of exercise that we do is the best option for all.

**  We will have more information on the low glycemic index way of eating coming soon.


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