Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity, do parents encourage it?

Can parents encourage childhood obesity among their kids?  It’s possible through genetics and the environment a parent creates.

Have you heard the saying, “I want to be the person that I hope my kid(s) grow up to be?”  I translate that as, “I hope my kids don’t inherit my own shortcomings and turn out to be better than I am.”  Let’s apply that concept to our health.  For example, would a smoker encourage their child to take up smoking?  I would hope not.  Additionally, would an overweight parent want their children to be obese?  Probably not.  So, let’s look at how poor health habits trickle down from parent to child.

Obesity from parent to child

According to Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, a child has a 50% chance of experiencing childhood obesity if one of his or her parents is obese.  That child has an 80% chance of being obese if both parents are obese.  Genetics and environmental issues contribute to this relationship.

We can’t do much to improve genetic issues, but we can alter environmental issues.  An obese parent who makes poor nutrition choices for themselves provides the same foods to their children.  A parent who cannot physically accommodate their child’s busy extracurricular schedule might deny those activities.  As a result, children may receive poor nutrition and lead a more sedentary lifestyle and increased risk of childhood obesity.

Making healthy changes

A parent who refocuses their health on achieving a healthy weight could send positive ripple effects through future generations.  Obese parents shouldn’t be discouraged from making these changes.  Help is available to those who are ready to improve themselves personally making them better role models for their children.

Weight loss options

At Heartland Weight Loss Clinic, we offer medically guided weight loss programs featuring appetite suppressants, vitamin supplements and realistic levels of exercise.  You can use these programs on their own or pair them with weight loss surgery.  My team and I are ready to identify the obstacles that have kept you from losing weight in the past and get you over those hurdles to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Legrand, Owner & Surgeon
Heartland Weight Loss Clinic

Heart Health in February

I find it ironic that February is Heart Health month.  The year kicks off with all kinds of health goals and New Year’s resolutions.  By the time February rolls around, many of them are abandoned.  So, February being Heart Health month is almost a subliminal reminder that we need to keep pursuing our healthy new year’s resolutions.

Calorie intake and its relationship to heart health

Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for your heart health, and there are several things you can do to keep your heart healthy.  For example, exercise, avoid fried foods and reduce your stress to keep your heart strong and pumping freely.  In addition, there’s another critical rule to follow to maintain a healthy heart, and this month’s invasion of heart-shaped chocolate candies inspired this blog.  Moderate your calorie intake.  

Calorie control simplified

Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School drills down calorie control into three simple steps:

  1. Picture your plate as a peace sign with three equal sections. Fill each section of the plate with a lean, healthy foods from various food groups.  Fast food combos also come in threes, the entrée, side and drink, but don’t confuse that approach with the plate peace sign.  Instead, build your meal with lean meats, whole grains and veggies.  You’ll be making three wiser,  healthier decisions without “super sizing.”
  2. Do not get seconds. Slow down when eating your meals.  Enjoy your food.  Limit your servings to just one plate.  You’ll find yourself feeling just as satisfied when you eat slowly and mindfully than if you sprint across your plate to go back for more.
  3. Have three bites of anything indulgent. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment if you think you can avoid your favorite indulgent foods forever.  Make a plan for when you encounter those beloved sweet, salty or fried foods.  Take the first bite because you want it.  Have the second bite to be a rebel.  Savor the third bite the longest.  How many calories did you just avoid by limiting yourself to just three bites?  Go ahead.  Grab a calculator to add it all up.
Weight loss options

Making healthy food choices and reducing calorie intake are parts of Heartland Weight Loss Clinic’s medically guided weight loss plansWeight loss surgeries are also available for patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater.  Our medically guided weight loss programs are often paired with weight loss procedures.

My team and I are ready to identify the obstacles that have kept you from losing weight in the past and get you over those hurdles to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Dr. Legrand, Owner & Surgeon
Heartland Weight Loss Clinic


The COVID Pandemic and Your Weight

Since the onset of COVID, we’ve all heard the patients with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to the virus.  It’s easy easy to assume that this statement only qualifies for individuals with an autoimmune deficiency.  In reality, “the vulnerable” also includes obese patients.

Did you know that your weight can negatively affect your immunity just as it does your blood pressure, cholesterol and risk of heart disease?  The link between obesity and impaired immune function is gaining attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Researchers are scrambling to determine why some COVID patients tolerate the virus better than others.  They are noticing that a patient’s weight may contribute to negative COVID outcomes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being obese may increase the risk of severe illness associated with COVID-19.  The risk of being hospitalized may be tripled for obese patients.  Obesity alone decreases lung capacity and lung reserves making ventilation more difficult.  These weight-related respiratory obstacles can be compounded by a serious respiratory virus such as COVID-19 leading to a longer, more difficult recover period for obese patients.

COVID remains a huge part of our daily lives, and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.  So, now is the time to assess your weight and overall health.  A medically guided weight loss plan featuring appetite suppressants, vitamin supplements and exercise may be the support you need to achieve your weight loss goals.  If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 40, weight loss surgery might be an option for you.  Having a BMI closer to 35 paired with weight-related health issues can also make you a candidate for weight loss surgery.

Either way, my team and I at Heartland Weight Loss Clinic are ready to evaluate your health, review the obstacles that have prevented you from losing weight in the past and help you overcome those hurdles.  Improving your health should always be a priority especially during the COVID pandemic.

Dr. Legrand, Owner & Surgeon
Heartland Weight Loss Clinic

Photo by from Pexels

The Dangers of Obesity

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  You’re watching television (insert your favorite series, sport, etc. here), and an advertisement for a prescription medication comes on.  The ad doesn’t last the typical thirty seconds.  No.  It’s at least a full minute long.  A big portion of that time is spent listing all the possible side effects that may be caused by the medication.  You probably ask yourself, “Who would want to take that medicine with the risk of experiencing all those side effects?”  Listing the dangers of obesity feels very similar.  

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) outlines The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity on its website.  It cuts to the chase quickly and puts “all-causes of death (mortality)” at the top of its list.  Then, it goes into more specific, chronic conditions that can eventually contribute to its first line item; high blood pressure, high HDL cholesterol (the number you want to be low), low LDL cholesterol (the number you want to be high), high triglycerides and type 2 diabetes. 

Of course, those issues contribute to coronary heart disease and stroke, which are also on the list.  Lesser-known problems like gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, breathing problems, many types of cancer, low quality of life, mental illness and body pain round out the CDC’s list.  After considering all these things, you might ask yourself, “Who would want to risk experiencing all these effects?”

I know that no one actively chooses to take these risks.  There are many factors that contribute to obesity, some of which can’t be controlled.  Genetics certainly can’t be controlled.  Weight can also be a result of one’s environment.  I also realize that people struggling with their weight have probably tried to lose it on their own only to end up disappointed in themselves.  

For anyone who has endured these excuses and experiences, a medically guided weight loss program, and possibly surgery, might be the solution.  Under the supervision of a physician, these programs may include one or more features:

    1. Non-surgical weight loss program featuring appetite suppressant medication, dietary plan, exercise counseling, vitamin B12 injections, vitamin optimization, protein supplements and monitoring of body composition (muscle, water and fat)
    2. Mental counseling
    3. Surgical weight loss solution such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve or duodenal switch

My team and I at Heartland Weight Loss Clinic offer these services so our patients don’t have to endure the long list of obesity’s effects.  Plans and recommendations are customized according to each patient’s needs.  We can even help get approval from your insurance to help cover the costs.  No one should have to ask themselves, “Why am I putting myself at risk to experience all these things?”  Heartland Weight Loss Clinic has support and solutions available.

Medically Guided Weight Loss Programs vs Highly Publicized Weight Loss Programs

We’ve all seen them.  Those highly publicized weight loss program television commercials that show impressive before-and-after comparisons.  The advertisements make it sound so easy, “Lose ‘X’ pounds in only ‘X’ days.”  The topic of how that weight loss is achieved so quickly is never addressed.  Those programs typically sell branded meal plans and apps filled with generic advice about diet and exercise while sending participants to go at it alone.  So, what makes a medically guided weight loss program different?  

By definition, medically guided weight loss is the process of losing weight with the help and guidance of a healthcare professional(s), typically a physician.  The physician has a hand in every component of the program and provides continuous follow ups and consultations.  It’s quite opposite of handing participants a few branded tools and leaving them to survive on their own.  

Physician participation starts with identifying and treating medical barriers that may be preventing the participant from losing weight in the first place.  From that point, a customized plan is developed to address and work through those barriers.  Medications, nutrition advice and exercise consultations follow that lead.  As the participant makes progress, or not, the physician monitors and adjusts the plan accordingly.  

Here’s another big difference.  Some insurance plans require that individuals who are interested in weight loss surgery to complete a medically guided weight loss program before approving the procedure.  Insurance companies do not view the weight loss programs you see on television as adequate substitutes because a physician is not involved in them.

Heartland Weight Loss Clinic offers medically guided weight loss programs, not just to individuals interested in weight loss surgery, but also people seeking a physician’s help to lose weight and reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and more.  Our programs focus on:

  • Reducing calorie intake using an appetite suppressant medication
  • Developing and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits through nutrition and exercise counseling 
  • Increasing metabolism and overall health with vitamin B12 injections, vitamin optimization and protein supplements
  • Monitoring progress with muscle, water and fat composition measurements
  • Adjusting the program to meet the participant’s needs 
  • Maintain weight loss for the long term

No one should feel as if they must take their weight loss journey alone.  A medical program, like those offered at Heartland Weight Loss Clinic, comes with support, experience and customizations that will improve the chance of success because everyone should have their own before-and-after experience to enjoy.