As the days get longer and more of our community is opening up, a local physician is encouraging patients to reverse the extra pounds they may have added over the past year of the pandemic.

Mark Crick, M.D., internal medicine physician at East Georgia Primary Care & Internal Medicine, said now’s a great time to get back on track with healthy habits and shed that extra weight.

“Although it may not be easy and can often take time and much focus, it’s important to lose those extra pounds now for your long-term health and wellness,” says Dr. Crick.

A recent study by the University of California, San Francisco confirmed what many of our scales and wardrobes have already shown us – lower activity levels and increased snacking and overeating have added up, and not for the better. The study found significant increases in weight of roughly a pound and a half gained per month following the shelter in place orders of last spring.

Even before the pandemic, CDC data from 2017-2018 showed that 30-35% or more of the adults in Georgia had obesity. Overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher; obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher.

Extra pounds can increase your risk for many serious diseases and health conditions that are some of the leading causes of preventable, premature death. Overweight can lead to high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, many types of cancer and other concerns.

“Each person’s situation should be reviewed by their primary care provider to establish a safe and healthy exercise routine and an appropriate, well-balanced diet to lose any extra weight,” Dr. Crick further states. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, strategies for weight loss and weight maintenance include dietary changes, physical activity, behavior therapy, pharmacotherapy and surgery. Your primary care physician can help you determine what course of action can support your health objectives.

Dr. Crick’s practice has put a number of precautions in place to ensure a safe environment for your appointment. These include masking of all patients and providers, screening all clinic visitors and clinic staff, asking that that only the patient comes inside the clinic, socially distanced seating in the waiting area, offering telehealth (virtual) visits, and enhanced cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.