Oasis Is Really O.A.S.I.S.

Originally published: 09-02-13

It is not widely known (because we don’t actually promote it), but I originally came up with the name “Oasis” as an acronym.  It stands for “Overweight and subsequent illness solutions.”  My daughter and I thought it was cool, but several marketing professionals thought it was too wordy and clinical for use in promotional materials.  Fortunately, “oasis” also embodies the spirit of our practice:  a haven from the “wasteland” of weight loss diets.

The acronym, however, does describe exactly what we do. We teach our patients how to solve their weight problem and any other conditions they have that are directly related to their excess weight.  It is remarkable how many very common and potentially serious medical problems are worsened and at least partly caused by overweight.  The long list includes high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux), chronic low back and knee pain (mostly due to degenerative and inflammatory disease), sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, many common types of cancer, and depression (this list is depressing enough).

Millions of Americans suffer from at least one of these diseases.  It is staggering to consider the collective effect all of this illness has on the quality of life in this country.  People are chronically uncomfortable or worse, an enormous amount of time, effort and money is invested in their healthcare, and society’s productivity and progress is seriously inhibited. The fact that overweight is a major contributor to this entire situation makes it one of the most devastating problems of the early twenty-first century.

As such, our society as a whole must dedicate itself to the amelioration of this problem. We all have a role to play, young and old.  We must learn how to eat properly (yes, it can be very enjoyable) and exercise regularly (no, it doesn’t have to be exhausting or painful). Healthcare professionals must provide the education people need to establish healthful lifestyles, and the government, schools and employers must provide the basic infrastructure to facilitate these lifestyles.

Overweight and obesity are everyone’s problem, not just the people who carry extra weight.  The solution to this problem is multifaceted and complex.  It requires all of us to learn the basics of healthful living, to understand the necessity of being healthy, and to change our ways to those that are consistent with our new knowledge and understanding. This will take time, probably much longer than the time it has taken for our country to address tobacco use.

Shall we get to work?

Dean Sloan, MD

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