March 7, 2011

Lasting weight loss is an effective way of preventing type 2 diabetes in overweight adults

An estimated half a million people in Finland have either been diagnosed with or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to professor Aila Rissanen, these people are in an urgent need of support and care to help them prevent obesity-related illnesses. Permanent weight loss also helps to manage diabetes. Some patients have been able to stop taking medication completely.“Treating type 2 diabetes is easy at first, but the complications that may occur later are more difficult. A patient may later face an organ transplant or amputation, for example,” Rissanen warns.According to The Finnish Medial Society Duodecim, a permanent weight loss of even just five per cent is beneficial to the health of an overweight adult. The most harmful type of body fat is located in the abdominal cavity and the liver. When a person starts losing weight, this harmful fat is the first to start decreasing.

Exercise alone does not do the trick

The most efficient way to lose weight is to start eating smaller meals or to switch to foods that contain fewer calories.

“It is important to make sure that while you receive a small amount of energy, you still get all of the vital nutrients from your diet while losing weight,” says docent Kirsi Pietil√§inen.

Increasing exercise alone will help shed a few extra kilos in less than six months. The combination of exercise and a sensible diet helps you prevent regaining the kilos you’ve lost. A daily hour’s exercise or an hour and a half of brisk walking is recommended.

One in five working-age Finns is overweight

• More than two million working-age Finns are overweight, meaning that their BMI is above 25.

• One in five working-age Finns is obese, which amounts to 650,000 people. This means that their BMI is above 30; for example, a person may be 170 cm tall and weigh at least 87 kilos.

• The number of severely obese Finns is 170,000. Severe obesity means that a person’s BMI is above 35.

• The number of people suffering from morbid obesity, meaning that their BMI is above 40, is 50,000.

Source: The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim

Exercising is especially important to improving the health of overweight people. It eases blood pressure, as well as sugar and fat metabolism disorders.

From dieting to permanent lifestyle changes

According to the recently published Duodecim Current Care guideline, the primary treatment for adult obesity is lifestyle guidance, preferably conducted in groups. This guidance can be supported with medication. Morbid obesity can also be treated with surgery.

“We should ban the word ‘diet’. Maintaining the new weight can be achieved if a person takes conscious measures to change their way of life for good. It really is a project in life management,” describes Rissanen.

In Finland, obesity is most common among women of pension age and middle-aged men. It has been linked to depression, dementia, some forms of cancer, arthrosis, urinary incontinence and heart disease, among other disorders.

Some 650,000 people of working age in Finland are obese, which means that their body mass index (BMI) is above 30, and more than two million Finns are overweight.



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