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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause


Obesity can cause many health issues

by Maya Hollinshead
Hands on Health Program Assistant
Obesity has become a nationwide epidemic. For the last 20 years, the number of people who are overweight and obese has increased.  It is also one of South Carolina’s biggest health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the 2008 obesity rate in South Carolina was the sixth highest in the nation—35.2 percent of South Carolina’s adults are overweight and another 30.1 percent are obese.
Overweight means that a person weighs more than they should for a given height. Obesity is a condition where a person is so overweight that it is unhealthy. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to get certain diseases and have other health problems. Diseases and health problems include:
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Reproduction/Sexuality Problems, such as infertility
  • Skin Problems such as calluses
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis caused by cartilage breakdown)
There are lifestyle habits known to prevent obesity. Exercise regularly. This is one of the most important things to prevent weight gain. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days of the week.
Eat healthy meals and snacks. It is best to eat a variety of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and to avoid sweets and alcohol and foods that have saturated fat, such as pork, fatty beef and cheese made out of whole milk. It’s better to eat multiple smaller meals rather than skipping meals.
Identify situations that can trigger out-of-control eating. Keeping a food journal provides a way to monitor how you are eating. Be consistent with a healthy weight plan, even during holidays and vacations, and weigh yourself at least once a week.
If you are already overweight, there are things you can do to lose weight. 
Exercise and be physically active. Everyone should try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week. But for significant weight loss, you need 45 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week. Set small goals at first, and then increase your workouts. Increasing your normal daily activity will also boost your exercise level. Get up and move around periodically and take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Seek help to change the behaviors that lead to weight gain.  Counseling sessions with a trained mental health professional or support groups like Weight Watchers can help change unhealthy behaviors and thoughts.
Learn more about obesity and weight management at Hands on Health—South Carolina (, the award-winning consumer health site developed by the MUSC Library. To get the basics, read the obesity article in the section South Carolina’s Biggest Health Problems. To learn about nutrition, exercise and weight management, select Find Out About and explore the links in Staying Healthy.
For more information about Hands on Health and links to obesity and its treatment, plan to drop by Wellness Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 30 in the lobby of Ashley River Tower.

Worksite screening
A worksite screening will be held June 24 at the MUSC Wellness Center. The cost of the screening for those with state health insurance coverage is $15. For all others, the cost is $42.
To see a sample report and what the screening covers, visit
Additional openings often become available  the day before the screening due to last minute cancellations. Registration is required. Go to and click on “worksite screening.”
E-mail if you have any questions about the screening.

Editor's note: The preceding column was brought to you on behalf of Health 1st. Striving to bring various topics and representing numerous employee wellness organizations and committees on campus, this weekly column seeks to provide MUSC, MUHA and UMA employees with current and helpful information concerning all aspects of health.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.