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Bariatrics and Mobility Support Essentials

Bariatrics and Obesity

What is Bariatrics?

Bariatrics is the study and treatment of obesity and associated diseases and side effects. Physiciasns utilize many methods in helping to treat obesity such as suggesting changes in ones diet, exercises, lifestyle modifications, behavior changes, home medical mobility support equipment such as seating and mobility essentials, medications and, in some cases, surgery.  

What is Obesity?

Obesity is defined as a very high amount of body fat in relation to body mass. The amount of body fat (or adiposity) includes concern for both the distribution of fat throughout the body and the size of the adipose tissue (body tissue containing stored fat that serves as a source of energy).  

What is BMI?

Body Mass Index or BMI is a tool for indicating weight status in adults, representing weight levels associated with the lowest overall risk to health. It is a measure of weight for height. For adults over 20 years old, BMI falls into one of these categories:1


Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 - 24.9 Normal
25.0 - 29.9 Overweight
30.0 - and above Obese

How Does BMI Relate To Health?

The BMI ranges are based on the effect that body weight has on disease and death. As BMI increases, the risk for some disease increases. Some common conditions related to overweight and obesity include:1
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Premature Death
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes

Other Indicators of Health Risk:

BMI is just one of many factors related to developing a chronic disease (such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes). Other factors that may be important to look at when assessing your risk for chronic disease include:2
  • Diet
  • Physical Activity
  • Blood Sugar Level
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol Level
  • Waist circumference
  • Family History


1- CDC Nutrition and Physical Activity

2- CDC Nutrition and Physical Activity

If you are a very large person, you can still be physically active

Typically it is difficult for very large people to try to be active.  They may not be able to move the same way as other people can or with the same skill and balance.  Obese people may find it difficult to find appropriate comfortable clothing to exercise in or even equipment to help them.  Bariatric walkers, rollators, walkers and canes can help but there are other things that can be done as well.  Here are a few tips to help get started: 

• Start Slowly

The body needs time to get used to a new activity.

• Warm Up

Warming up is very important.  You need to ease into movements that you do not otherwise do on a regular basis.  Try mild warm ups by shrugging your shoulders, tapping your toes, swinging your arms and marching in place.  Everyone should spend some time warming up for any physical activity, even walking. 

• Cool Down

Slow down little by little. Individuals should walk slowly or stretch for a few minutes to cool down. 

• Set Goals

Set short-term and long term goals. A short-term goal may be to walk 5 minutes on at least 3 days for 1 week. A long-term goal may be to walk 30 minutes on most days of the week by the end of 6 months.  It is important not to overdue it.  Set reasonable goals.

• Get Support

Ask a family member or friend to join you.  A little friendly competition or simply for support.   

• Track Progress

Keep a journal.  You'll be pleased with what you have accomplished.

• Have Fun

Try different things.  Find what you really enjoy and stick with it. 

What activities can an obese person do?

Weight-Bearing Activities:

Activities like walking and golfing, which involve lifting and pushing your own body weight.

Non-Weight-Bearing Activities:

Activities like swimming and water workouts, which put less stress on the joints because individuals do not have to lift or push their own weight.

Lifestyle Activities:

Activities like gardening, which do not have to be planned.
Before starting any physical activity program, contact a medical professional.