Monday, May 14, 2012


Region faces high rates of obesity, made worse by long commutes

There are an estimated 175,000 overweight or obese adults living in the greater Norwich area.  Even more staggering, these individuals pay an average of 41% more in medical bills each year compared to those who are not overweight or obese.

In a 2010 community health needs assessment survey conducted by Holleran, an independent consulting firm, Backus Hospital identified obesity as one of seven health priority areas.

Although obesity is one of the most preventable causes of chronic disease, a recent study by the American Journal for Preventive Medicine found that obesity can be compounded for those who travel long commutes or regularly sit in traffic.

In fact, 21% of individuals who travel 11 to 15 miles a day are obese and this number jumps to 25% for those who commute 16 to 20 miles a day.

To help the communities of southeastern Connecticut deal with and reduce rates of obesity, Backus is continuing to reinforce and expand the Backus Weight Loss Center.  Participants of the program have access to a wide range of healthcare professionals and services including:

•  Nutritional counseling
•  Support groups
•  Psychological counseling
•  Bariatric surgery

Since 2010, 100 Lap-Band procedures have been performed at Backus.  To be eligible for this surgical procedure patients must:

•  Be at least 100 pounds overweight
•  Have a body mass index (BMI) of 30
•  Suffering from one or more severe obesity-related health issues
•  Be at least 18 years of age
•  Have been overweight for more than five years
•  Be prepared to attend regular follow-up sessions and make lifestyle changes

If you or someone you know is struggling with obesity and its negative health effects, contact your primary care physician.  For more information about the Backus Weight Loss Center, visit or call 860-425-8740.

Mark Tousignant, MD, is the Medical Director of the Backus Weight Loss Center. This column should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. If you want to comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Dr. Tousignant or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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