Get the skinny on losing fat

At 28, Sylvia Coronado weighed more than 300 pounds, and her diabetes was out of control. “Every time I checked my blood sugar, it was horrible,” she says. “I didn’t want to die like that.”

Coronado is not alone. More than 68 percent of adults and nearly 1 in 3 in America are overweight or obese. These individuals are at an increased risk of health problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and some cancers. If you’re wondering if you’re overweight, a good place to start is by calculating your body mass index.

What are the causes of obesity? Americans are eating too much and too often, with fattening foods like soda, chips, and candy replacing fruits and vegetables. Sedentary lifestyles are another culprit. “Physical activity has been engineered out of our lives,” says Keith Bachman, MD, clinical lead for obesity prevention and treatment at Kaiser Permanente’s Care Management Institute.

To combat obesity, Kaiser Permanente uses a multi-tiered approach. “We consider exercise a vital sign, just like blood pressure, so when our members come in for care, they are routinely asked how often they exercise,” says Dr. Bachman. “The goal is 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise.” That works out to just 30 minutes of movement 5 days out of the week.

To increase understanding of obesity’s causes and effects and help find solutions, we’re proud to be a sponsor of “The Weight of the Nation,” a 4-part documentary series airing on HBO this month. You can also view it on

Online programs like HealthMedia® Balance® help keep members moving toward their weight-loss goals, and the complimentary Every Body Walk! mobile app encourages members to stay active by tracking how long and far they’ve walked and the calories burned.

Our classes in fitness, weight management, and living with diabetes are another vital tool. Some classes require a fee.

After she took diabetes classes at our Moreno Valley Medical Offices in California, Coronado lost 55 pounds and learned how to “count carbs, balance proteins, and maintain my blood sugar,” she says. Along with the weight loss, Coronado gained something very special. She was able to become pregnant and gave birth to her son Nicholas last October. 

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