Obesity, a Growing Problem in Solano County
There is no getting around it. Your weight and your health are connected. A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of it. And the United States leads the way with the highest level of obesity among children and young adults. The findings represent “a growing and disturbing global public health crisis,” said the authors of the paper.
Obesity is an issue that is a growing concern in Solano County as well, said Ehsan Ghods, D.O., a family practice physician at the NorthBay Center for Primary Care in Green Valley.
“Solano has a problem,” he said, noting that residents here, on average, are more obese and in poorer shape than their counterparts statewide. “We have one of the highest obesity rates in the state and that means a higher rate for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. These are all directly associated with obesity.”
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, Dr. Ghods noted, and obesity can contribute to cancer and other disorders, including increased arthritis pain, joint pain and an overall lower level of healthy body function and quality of life.
“Studies have shown that obesity is also common with depression—not just because of how you feel about the way you look, but because of the chronic disease and pain associated with it,” he said.
There is much that can be done to reverse and prevent the problems associated with obesity, Dr. Ghods said. “When I see a patient who is dealing with this and wants to know what to do, the first step I take is to ask how motivated they are to change their life and improve their weight,” he said. “Frequently they have already started and have been dieting (cutting calories) which has worked, but they’ve stopped.”
The problem often lies in trying to maintain an effort to lose weight when the lifestyle changes a person chooses are simply not sustainable.
~Gilbert Chang, M.D.
“When cutting calories, you lose the weight but eventually you give up because it’s too difficult to maintain. You get hungry or view the diet changes as a temporary thing,” said Dr. Ghods.
Maintaining a change requires work and Dr. Ghods said it should involve the whole family.
“If you are all in it together and modify, everyone benefits,” he said. “If mom has to cook differently for herself and her family, it’s not going to work. No one has enough time to do that.”
And he has tips for patients on maintaining their health as well as the health of their family. “I tell patients to be more active but if that means they have to always get away from their children or spouse to exercise, it can put a strain on them,” he said. “If, instead, they choose activities they can do together, it will increase their own activity level and maintain a cohesive family. It’s good for everyone.”
For those not sure where to begin with a weight loss effort, Dr. Ghods advises a visit with their physician to assess their health and talk about different diet options. “It’s important to pick something that is sustainable for their lifestyle.”
Meet our Physicians: Family Practice
Shanaz Khambatta, D.O.Vacaville
Stephen Newman, M.D.Vacaville
Marikit Bituin B. Parker, M.D.Vacaville
Douglas Freeman, M.D.Fairfield
Ehsan Ghods, D.O.Green Valley
Alina Hongsakaphadana, M.D.Green Valley
Dr. Lauren Weber, D.O.Green Valley
Angela Brennan, D.O., M.P.H.Fairfield