Health Exercise & Weight Loss Term Paper

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Prescription weight loss pills are diet drugs, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. If certain side effects exist, then they are advertised and prescribed for weight loss only under certain criteria and in certain pill-dosages. Examples of prescription diet pills include Merida and Phentermine, and these types of diet pills are principally designed for those suffering from serious obesity. Diet and weight loss prescription drugs are not a cosmetic solution for weight loss, and neither are they intended to replace convention diet and weight loss programs.

Over-the-counter Diet Pills

Over the counter diet and weight loss pills is a rapidly growing market in the weight loss sector. These pills are classified as food supplements rather than diet drugs, and are fairly unregulated. These diet pills are not tested by the Federal authorities, not subject to the same advertising, dosage or labeling requirements, even though some experts consider that over-the-counter pills are in reality diet drugs. Although many over-the-counter diet pills and weight loss supplements contain ingredients with powerful amphetamine-like properties and have been associated with serious side effects including death, there is no compulsory reporting procedures for these diet products (Collins, 2006). Most of the over-the-counter diet pills function to suppress the appetite or burn caloric intake, but the dangers and side effects of these pills can vary enormously because many pills contain a variety of ingredients and dosage instructions may be inaccurate. Possible side effects include nervousness, tremor, diarrhea, bulging eyes, racing heartbeat, elevated blood pressure and maybe even heart failure (Collins, 2006).

Nutrition and Food

Recent research indicates that the growing awareness of the relationship between diet and health has led to an increasing demand for food products that support health above and beyond providing basic nutrition. According to the International Food and Information Council (2006), probiotics and prebiotics are components present in foods, or that can be incorporated into foods, which yield health benefits related to their interactions with the gastrointestinal tract. A probiotic has been defined as "a live microbial food ingredient that, when ingested in sufficient quantities, exerts health benefits." Prebiotics are defined as "nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth of one or a limited number of bacterial species in the colon, which have the potential to improve host health." Today, probiotic-containing foods are commonly found and consumed in Japan and Europe (International Food and Information Council, 2006). In the United States, several probiotic- and prebiotic-containing foods have recently been introduced into the marketplace.

Probiotic microorganisms can be found in both supplement form and as components of foods and beverages, and certain yogurts and other cultured dairy products contain such helpful bacteria. Prebiotics are found naturally in many foods, and can also be isolated from plants; in order for a food ingredient to be classified as a prebiotic, it has to be demonstrated, that it: (a) is not broken down in the stomach or absorbed in the gastro-intestinal tract, (b) is fermented by the gastrointestinal microflora; and - most importantly, selectively stimulates the growth and/or activity of intestinal bacteria associated with health and well-being (International Food and Information Council, 2006). The human gastrointestinal environment, including the microflora, has a significant role in the health of its host. The normal gut microflora activity is complex and can be impacted by a number of factors: the gut microflora, which includes both potentially beneficial and potentially harmful bacteria, is important in maintaining a healthy intestinal tract and helps the intestine act as an effective barrier; allowing nutrients to be absorbed, and keeping out toxins and pathogens (International Food and Information Council, 2006). The gut microflora breaks down vitamins and also ferments fibers and carbohydrates that are not digested in the upper gastro-intestinal tract. This breakdown produces fatty acids that are important for supporting a healthy intestinal barrier and also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria (International Food and Information Council, 2006).

Exercise

An essential part of maintaining good nutrition and the desire to exercise is a decision including a commitment of time and effort. Research indicates that unless you are convinced of the benefits of fitness and the risks of unfitness, you will not succeed. Regardless of your age, gender or role in life, you can benefit from regular physical activity, and exercise in combination with a sensible diet can help provide an overall sense of well-being and can even help prevent chronic illness, disability and premature death (President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, 2006). Benefits of exercise and increased activity are improved health, increased efficiency of heart and lungs, reduced cholesterol levels, increased muscle strength, reduced blood pressure, and reduced risk of major illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, weight loss, and an overall improved sense of well-being.

Health experts recommend that individuals should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity on all or most days of the week. Examples of moderate activity include brisk walking, cycling, swimming or doing home repairs or yard work. The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (2006), recommends a little work toward permanently changing your lifestyle to incorporate more activity. Some of their suggestions are to: take the stairs instead of the elevator, park at the far end of a parking lot and walk to the office or store, get off public transportation a few blocks before your stop, get up from your desk during the day to stretch and walk around, take a brisk walk when you get the urge to snack, increase your pace when working in the house or yard, mow your own lawn and rake your own leaves, and carry your own groceries. It is also recommended that for persons with cardiovascular disease, an appointment with a physician should be made before undertaking more vigorous activity.

Other suggestions include: tailoring your program to your own fitness level, setting realistic goals, choosing an exercise that fits your lifestyle, giving your body a chance to adjust to your new routine, not getting discouraged if you don't see immediate results, not giving up if you miss a day; just get back on track the next day, and finding a partner for a little motivation and socialization. Finally, it is important to build some rest days into your exercise schedule, and to listen to your body if you have difficulty breathing or experience faintness or prolonged weakness during or after exercise.

Surgical Options

The decades of the 2000's have seen the rapid growth of surgical options for weight loss; however, such options are intended for the morbidly obese and not for purely cosmetic reasons. Many people seek surgical options for cosmetic reasons, and there are doctors that perform such surgeries, contributing to the dangers associated with these measures. For weight loss surgery for the obese, treatment is a two-step process: assessment and management. Assessment requires determination of the degree of obesity and absolute risk status by a practitioner; whereas management includes weight control or reducing excess body weight and maintaining that weight loss as well as instituting other measures to control associated risk factors. Understanding what the procedure exactly entails is necessary for an individual to give what is called "informed consent" for the procedure.

Informed consent is a legal term meaning that you agree that you have received and understood enough information about a weight loss surgery's benefits and risks to allow yourself to make a decision that is right for you (Obesitycare.com, 2006).

Gastric Bypass Surgery

One way of treating your biological or genetic obesity factors is through the use of weight loss surgery to promote weight loss by restricting food intake or interrupting the digestive process. Gastric bypass surgery, more commonly known as stomach stapling typically involves stapling off a large portion of the stomach so that the stomach size is greatly reduced (Obesitycare.com, 2006). Weight loss surgery is recognized by the American College of Surgeons and the American Heart Association, and it is endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and many other prominent medical institutions. Weight loss surgery is a good solution for those that are more than 100 pounds overweight or 100% above their recommended weight.

Weight loss surgery also may be an option for people with a BMI between 35 and 40 who suffer from life-threatening problems such as severe sleep apnea or obesity-related heart disease or diabetes (Obesitycare.com, 2006). It is also a good solution for those that suffer from serious associated health-risk factors such as: high blood pressure (hypertension), heart problems (cardiovascular disease), diabetes, shortness of breath, swelling of the legs, joint and back pain, depression, infertility other weight-related conditions.

According to the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) and the National Institutes of Health, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is the current gold standard procedure for weight loss surgery. It is the most frequently performed operation for weight loss in the United States, accounting for more than 90% of all weight loss surgeries (Obesitycare.com, 2006). In the Roux-en-Y…[continue]

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