By Ray Fosterrlf@mt-rushmore.net


This is one of a number of Medical Checkpoints giving information about common conditions and what you can do about it. Your opinion and reaction to these Medical Checkpoints would be valued and appreciated. Medical Checkpoints are published periodically by NEWSTART Healthcare and are provided as a free service.



Taken from Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 13th edition (CD-ROM):


Obesity can most easily be assessed in terms of height and weight. One way is to relate weight to an average range for height and age. This measure of relative weight can lead to an underestimation of the incidence of obesity, since in the United States the "average" individual is somewhat obese. Tables of ideal and desirable weight are based on actuarial estimates of what is consistent with longest life expectancy. Such tables are more useful if adjusted for differences in body build.


The term obesity implies an excess of adipose tissue, but the meaning of excess is hard to define. Aesthetic considerations aside, obesity is best defined as any degree of excess adiposity that imparts a health risk. This cutoff between normal and obese can only be approximated, and the health risk imparted by obesity is probably a continuum with increasing adiposity. The Framingham Study demonstrated that a 20 percent excess over desirable weight clearly imparted a health risk. A National Institutes of Health consensus panel on obesity agreed with this definition and concluded that a 20 percent increase in relative weight or a BMI above the 85th percentile for young adults constitutes a health risk; by use of these criteria, 20 to 30 percent of adult men and 30 to 40 percent of adult women are obese, with the highest rates among the poor and minority groups. Significant health risks at lower levels of obesity can occur in the presence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, or other associated risk factors.


The Surgeon General's 1988 report on obesity notes that even mild obesity increases the risk for premature death, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, atherosclerosis, gallbladder disease, and certain types of cancer. In the United States the prevalence of obesity has increased in the past few decades. Because of the frequency of obesity and its health consequences, its prevention and treatment should be a high public health priority.


What is going on:

The problems of being overweight fall into three categories: a) blood flow - the vascular tree is increased, causing pressure, metabolic, and nutritional effects; b) mechanical, the weight must be carried around, and c) body image effects, including possible custom clothing considerations.



1. The first thing is to consider that most likely it is not possible to make a rational decision and then to carry out that decision. In view of the loss of will power in and of ourselves, the question is where is help going to come from? The suggestions that are made here come from a Judeo-Christian perspective. While a few persons can decide something and do it "on their own", most people experience inability to control and to lose weight "on their own". Here is an opportunity to "Taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy is the man (or woman) that trusteth in Him." The first suggestion is to pray to God to aid and assist you in weight control.


2. The second point to consider is that a change in lifestyle is needed, not a special diet. The eating habits of a lifetime are not easily changed. Continual choices for something better is needed. However the benefits are so great that any effort is well worth it. Probably the greatest benefit is the friendship with God that will develop as will power is regained and the certain knowledge that God cares enough for you to help you in weight control. The experience of regaining control of appetite may well be the most exciting experience of your life. 


3. The third decision is to make little changes, often repeated, concerning your lifestyle in general and in your eating habits in particular. There is no way that every change you would like to make is going to be accomplished in a day, or a week, or even in a month; in a year - perhaps. However, the more you learn, the more excited you will become with both what has been accomplished, and what more you would like to do - with God's help. Start with a little decision, that by God's help you can do forever. We are not talking about temporary changes. "Now we are dieting, now we are not", will never accomplish anything! Make little changes that you are prepared to do forever. For example, if you have not in the past habitually eaten breakfast, decide now, that in the morning you will eat something. Ask God to help you decide what to start with for breakfast. If you are already a breakfast eater, it may be that you should eat more and better for breakfast. Better means whole grain cooked cereals or whole wheat bread with a whole plant food butter substitute on the bread or toast.


4. Two key decisions that should be effected over time in order to achieve weight control for the rest of your life are concerning: a) primary source of food, and b) timing of eating. It is recommended that you make the decision to "head toward" these two goals, rather than trying to effect these two changes at once. The first decision to make is to:

a) eat a whole plant food based nutrition. Study the subject. A whole plant food based diet has a greater potential for variety than any other based nutrition. There are an endless variety of fruits, grains, nuts and vegetables. A whole plant based nutrition avoids viruses, parasites, and a whole host of diseases that are known to be transmitted to humans who eat fowl, fish, or animal source foods. It also avoids the problem of too much fat in the diet. The other major decision is

b) eat two meals a day beginning with a good breakfast. Go to bed on an empty stomach. This will give your stomach a rest. Your whole body will be more rested at night and you will wake up more refreshed. Having gone to bed on an empty stomach you will be ready to eat a good breakfast. The only way to experience this is to try it!

When you arrive at the consistent experience of enjoying two whole plant based meals a day, you may realize that you have never felt so well or been so well with so much energy in your life before, and the weight took care of itself!


5. The key motivation for success in this direction is to please God! Lose sight of yourself and your problems. Just do it for God's sake! Do it to please God. And in making God pleased, you will be too!

6. There are four parameters to eating. What you eat; how much you eat; when you eat; and how you eat. Call us or email us for our address and Send us a self-addressed stamped envelop with $1.00 and we will send you a pamphlet entitled "Whoes Boss" This will discuss these four parameters of eating. With respect to body weight you will not believe it until you have tried it. It is possible to eat more unrefined plant foods and weight less. Eating in the morning was associated with weight loss and eating at night was associated with weight gain in one experiment using the same people and the same diet. By eating what you eat at night in the morning instead, and eating at night what you have been eating in the morning may be a good start for you to eat more and weight less!

Desire professional help based on these principles to help you become the new you?

There is no better place to come for healing than to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

Visit the Black Hills Health and Education Center online at http://bhhec.org or

Phone 1 (800) 658-5433