Weight or wait?
Taking control of your wellbeing this 2022
by Dr Mary Grace L. Angel, M.D

Taking control of our wellbeing, as we welcome the year 2022, may also mean taking control of our weight to stay physically fit, avoid illnesses and to boost our energy level. Physical inactivity is unavoidable in a pandemic, with most people working from home, in addition to the trend for fast food delivery mobile apps, the rise in obesity is imminent. Unwanted fats can accumulate in the most unlikely places like the waist. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, were overweight and of these over 650 million were obese while here in the Philippines, according to Global Nutrition Report an estimated 7.5% of adult women and 5.2% of adult men living with obesity.

A recent study published in August 2021 by Zixin Cai, et al concluded that patients with obesity may have a higher risk of infection, hospitalization, clinically severe disease, mechanical ventilation, ICU admission, and mortality due to COVID-19. Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health brought about by imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended due to an increased intake of foods that are high in fat and sugars and an increase in physical inactivity.

Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference are screening tools to estimate weight status in relation to potential disease risk. BMI is a person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. BMI of ≥25 is considered at risk for developing associated diseases. You may check here to compute your BMI:

htm• If your BMI is less than 18.5, it falls within the underweight range.

• If your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9, it falls within the normal or Healthy Weight range.

• If your BMI is 25.0 to 29.9, it falls within the overweight range.

• If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, it falls within the obese range

Waist circumference is strongly connected with abdominal fat levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It gives a clinically acceptable method of determining a patient’s abdomen fat content before and after weight loss treatment. To correctly measure waist circumference: Stand and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hip bones. Make sure tape is horizontal around the waist. Keep the tape snug around the waist, but not compressing the skin. Measure your waist just after you breathe out. For Men more than 40 inches while for women if more than 35 inches has higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions. Obesity raises the risk of morbidity from hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and certain cancers and with recent studies, the severity of Covid infection. Though we cannot change our genes, sex, and age, we can do something about our weight.

Weight loss and weight management

We cannot lose weight overnight, and now may not be the best time to go jogging in the park or to hit the gym, but we must view healthy weight loss as a commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle which includes a habit of eating a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet combined with daily exercise, as in the old adage, “No pain, no gain.” Begin by taking small actions toward a new, healthier you.

The assessment and therapy management of the overweight or obese patient is a two-step process. The degree of overweight and general risk status must be determined throughout the assessment while for the management, excess body weight must be reduced, as well as other risk factors must be controlled.

People who lose weight gradually (1 to 2 pounds per week) are more effective at losing weight, according to the CDC and Mayo Clinic. To lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you must burn 500 to 1,000 calories more per day through a reduced calorie diet and frequent physical exercise.

Even a small weight loss of 5 to 10% of your total body weight can result in health benefits such as lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and lower blood sugar levels. After 6 months of weight loss treatment, efforts should be made to sustain the weight loss. Preventing additional weight gain is an important objective for people who are unable to achieve significant weight loss.

An increase in physical activity is an important component of weight loss therapy. Sustained physical activity is the most effective way to avoid regaining weight. The exercise can be done all at once or in spurts throughout the day. The patient can begin by walking 30 minutes three days a week and gradually increase to 45 minutes of more intense walking at least five days a week.


Obesity is associated with severe disease and mortality in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a meta-analysis by Zixin Cai et al.Aug 4th, 2021;21(1):1505.