WebMD: Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight and Keep It Off? Q&A With Amanda Velazquez, MD
Amanda Velazquez, MD, director of Obesity Medicine in the Department of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, recently was featured in a WebMD webinar about obesity, the challenges of shedding pounds and maintaining a healthy weight.
Obesity is a chronic disease resulting in excessive or abnormal body fat. It can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing serious health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular diseases, and stroke.
Velazquez told WebMD that “obesity is a very complex disease” and diet or exercise alone are not enough for most people to lose weight, keep it off long term and prevent weight-related diseases. She explained that newer anti-obesity medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—such as semaglutide (Ozempic)—have been shown to be safe, if taken long term for weight loss and weight maintenance. But insurance coverage is “hit or miss.”
“It’s best that you speak with your healthcare providers to find out which [anti-obesity medication] is best for you, in terms of costs,” Velazquez said.
She added that most insurers will cover bariatric surgery if a person meets the clinical criteria.
Even with these options, exercise is still key. Velazquez said strength training, which has many health benefits, is crucial for weight loss. Among other things, she said maintaining muscle mass helps improve the body’s metabolic rate—how fast the body turns food into energy.
“It can enhance your strength, better your balance, help you develop good bone health and more,” Velazquez told WebMD.
She compared a weight loss journey to a marathon and recommended support groups for motivation and apps such as MyFitnessPal, Noom and WeightWatchers for accountability.
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