ll kinds of tips and tricks for losing weight can be found everywhere in the media these days. However, the obesity epidemic in the United States is much more serious than just a handful of people trying to lose a few extra pounds. Americans need a real solution for changing their eating habits and exercising more for a healthier lifestyle. This is where the chiropractic field can make a big difference with their patients, both with providing relief from obesity-induced health issues, as well as helping them with some lasting weight loss solutions.
The obesity epidemic does affect millions of Americans, and there’s no easy “one size fits all” solution. In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the results reveal that over 32% of Americans over 20 years old are overweight, over 34% are categorized as obese, and over 5% are labeled as extremely obese.
The obesity epidemic in the United States is much more serious than just a handful of people trying to lose a few extra pounds.
There are several factors that play into the equation, including eating behaviors, environmental issues, low levels of physical activity, and genetics. Because each person is different, the combination of many of these causes plays into each person’s health profile in various ways. But similar underlying issues and behaviors may produce the same results, regardless of other varying factors. For instance, a middle-aged female who works at a desk job for 40 hours a week may have back and shoulder pain associated with obesity. On the flip side, an adolescent who sits in front of the television playing video games for hours may also have a family history of obesity.
Regardless of the cause, in any situation where a person is overweight, other health related issues—such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases—can soon arise and become an imminent issue in a person’s overall health and well-being.
As chiropractors, we provide beneficial services to patients who struggle with obesity. But it's up to the chiropractor to reach out to their patients to address what, for some, can be a very sensitive issue. And, although patients turn to us because of lower back pain brought on by their additional weight, the extra weight that a person carries can also affect their knees and hip joints. As more people look for physical relief from their back pain, chiropractors have the opportunity to assist their patients in making better lifestyle choices that will result in achieving overall health.
As with any behavioral changes, learning to eat better and increasing physical activity will work much better if that person has a “coach” to help keep them accountable for their weight loss goals. When it comes to helping patients with their long-term weight loss solutions, chiropractors have a unique advantage. We often see patients on a routine basis, anywhere from a few times per month up to a few times per week in some cases. Due to the nature of these appointments, chiropractors have a great opportunity to meet with their patients on a regular basis to track their individual weight loss and exercise programs. In this way, chiropractors can monitor their patients’ increased physical activity, make any adjustments to their specific weight loss plans, address concerns, and offer helpful words of encouragement to stay on course.
Many chiropractors across the country are integrating additional services into their wellness programs for their patients—and for good reason.
Also, many chiropractors across the country are integrating additional services into their wellness programs for their patients—and for good reason. When you consider that 8% of the US adult population seeks out chiropractic care in any given year (according to NHIS), while 63% of the population is seeking a weight loss solution (Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index), it becomes clear that the opportunity to help more patients by addressing weight loss is considerable. Some chiropractic offices are offering Yoga and Pilates classes to improve flexibility and promote safe physical fitness for their overweight patients. By incorporating these services, they are reaching out to the community and bringing in new customers, who could potentially turn into future patients. Moreover, several chiropractors have Beach Body, Isagenix, and other weight-loss products available at their offices for their patients’ purchasing convenience. These are just a few of the ways that chiropractors are diversifying their services as they help their patients overcome their battle with obesity.
Even though chiropractors do offer several beneficial services to help people who are dealing with obesity, it will take some initiative for chiropractors to reach out and bring in patients on this premise. When reaching out to the local community, networking with other businesses and like-minded professionals will bring in more patients through the chiropractic office doors. Most local and state governments do have health initiatives that deal with the obesity epidemic. Chiropractors can investigate these plans and find a way to incorporate chiropractic care into these programs. There are some chiropractors that have even set up their practice (or a satellite clinic) in a gym.
Also, many businesses and health clinics participate in outreach programs and health fairs. Connecting with other health professionals can benefit everyone. Many times, bringing in new patients means getting the word out that there is a chiropractic office in the area. Creating a professional display, being available to answer questions from potential clients, and offering quality literature will get people’s attention.
Being part of the solution to the obesity epidemic is a great opportunity for many of us. As people in the United States become aware of the increasing negative side effects affiliated with obesity, more and more Americans will begin seeking out professional help. If other health professionals, local government officials, and health and wellness businesses include us in their circle of professionals, then our unity will strengthen the impact that we can make as a unified group.
Overall, we have a great opportunity to help millions of Americans not only get relief from some of the painful side effects of being overweight but, also, help them win the battle over obesity.