(KWWL) – Obesity is growing in Iowa, the CDC ranking in 4th for obesity in the nation. The latest numbers show a rate of 36 percent in 2017 which is up 4 points from the year before.
Local healthcare professionals say obesity is something that’s been on their radar for years, but their approach has changed.
“Obesity is a disease, just like diabetes or heart disease,” said Heidi Solheim, the Chief Operating Officer for the Waverly Health Center.
“We need to treat it that way and not stigmatize or look at people who are obese as them being the problem, its an illness they’re trying to work through,” said Solheim.
The Waverly Health center is one of the only facilities in Iowa that offers weight loss surgery.
“It’s not a quick fix, its a lifestyle change and that’s why its a program, not just a procedure,” said Solheim.
Solheim says they provide resources to educate people on all the possible things that could contribute to a person’s weight, not just what they eat.
“If we only focus on the weight, we’re going to miss the big picture and they won’t be successful if we’re not looking at the whole person,” said Solheim.
Lori Fincher with Allen Hospital agrees with Solheim.
“A lot of time there’s a lot of issues, underlying issues that can make people eat more or not exercise. Depression, anxiety, a lot of it is just how they think,” said Fincher.
As the chief clinical dietitian, Fincher coaches people at Allen Hospital in Waterloo. She agrees that weight loss, whether it’s through surgery or diet, is never solved with a quick fix.
“The people who change their lifestyles and behaviors, tend to be more successful, and they feel better,” said Fincher.
Fincher said one way you can achieve your health goals is by setting smaller goals at first, slowly building to your main goal.
She said its best to remember that anything worth doing is a process.