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Why Weight to Battle the Bulge

CONTACT: Jenna McPhee
(617) 246-7412

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts offers tips to help fight the growing problem of obesity

Boston — December 28, 2009 — 'Tis the season to overindulge. The problem is many Americans no longer limit their excess to the holidays. Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States; one that can lead to serious health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 37 percent of adults in Massachusetts are overweight and 22 percent are obese. The epidemic has spread to children as well. The Massachusetts Public Health Association reports that between 25-30 percent of the state's 10-17-year olds are overweight or obese.

Small Changes = Big Differences
Most people know that diet and exercise are keys to maintaining a healthy weight, yet according to the CDC, one-in-five Massachusetts adults reported not having had any physical activity in the past month, and only 28 percent say they eat the five daily servings of fruits and vegetables recommended as part of a nutritious diet.

"What seem like simple choices, like smaller portions at mealtime, or adding more fruits and vegetables to one's diet, can result in powerful changes if you stick with them," says Bryce Williams, Director of Prevention & Wellness at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "Studies show that losing five to ten percent of your body weight can often make a noticeable difference in lowering blood pressure and helping with other problems."

Weight Loss Tips
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts' (BCBSMA) Prevention and Wellness Program offers the following tips to a healthy lifestyle:

  • Talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) — Before starting any diet or exercise plan, talk to your doctor to better understand your current condition and health status. Your PCP may have recommendations to help you lose weight safely and effectively.

  • Develop a plan — Planning is a key to weight loss success. You need to set realistic goals and outline tactics to achieve them. Consider as part of your plan — weekly meal menus, a food diary to track what you eat, and regularly scheduled exercise.

  • Eat healthy — Pay attention to the foods you eat and the nutritional value they provide by reading the label. According to the BCBSMA web site, daily food intake should include: 45-65 percent carbohydrates, 10-35 percent protein and 20-35 percent fats.

  • Increase physical activity — Most people cannot lose weight by dieting alone. According to the National Weight Control Registry, 90% of the people who lose weight and keep it off, exercise regularly.

  • Track success — Once you have a plan, you need to measure your progress. Weigh yourself regularly, but not everyday. Keep track of what you eat and how much in a food diary, and record how many minutes of exercise you get a day.

  • Bounce back — Everyone blows their diet now and then, or skips a day at the gym. The important thing is to get back on track and not get discouraged. A lifelong change not only takes dedication — it takes patience.

Support Programs & Resources
Trying to lose weight alone is a challenge, but there are many resources available to help people lose weight and stay motivated:

  • Weight Watchers and Overeaters Anonymous are examples of programs that can help you track your food intake and provide emotional support.

  • Nutritional counselors can help you develop a life-long plan to achieve and maintain weight loss; some counselors are just an email away.

  • Fitness centers — Physical activity is key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, join a gym or your local YMCA. Your city or town may offer exercise programs for little or no cost, check with your local Department of Parks and Recreation.

  • Weight loss challenges — a little competition can give you a lot of motivation. Challenge a friend or relative to lose weight. There are also online resources like "The 50 Million Pound Challenge," that encourage people take control of their health.

  • Health insurers are important sources of support. Many offer financial incentives for joining fitness centers and weight loss programs. BCBSMA's devotes an entire section to weight loss providing access to recipes and tools like menu planners, food diaries and calorie counters.

BCBSMA's Prevention and Wellness Program started in January 1995 and provides initiatives to promote preventive health to BCBSMA's nearly 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. For more information about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts's Prevention and Wellness Programs, call 1-800-262-BLUE.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts ( ) was founded more than 70 years ago by a group of community-minded business leaders. Today, headquartered in Boston, BCBSMA provides coverage to more than 3 million members, 2.5 million in Massachusetts. BCBSMA believes in rewarding doctors and hospitals for delivering safe and effective care, and in empowering patients to take more responsibility, become educated health care consumers and become stronger partners with their doctors. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts is an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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