FIU Health launches weight management, bariatric surgery program

Turkeys are not the only ones who get stuffed during the holidays. Between the office parties and family gatherings, ‘tis the season for drinking and eating. Come the new year, losing weight is often at the top of our collective list of new year’s resolutions. But losing weight, is only half the battle.


Losing it and keeping it off

“Success is not measured in how much you lose, but keeping it off,” says Dr. Zaher Nuwayhid, assistant professor at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and a specialist in metabolic and bariatric surgery.

An often quoted study suggests that 95 percent of people who lose weight eventually gain it back— and sometimes more — within a few months or years. Other studies are a bit more optimistic, but all pretty much conclude that permanent weight loss is no easy task, particularly for people who have become seriously overweight or obese.

New weight management/bariatric surgery program

Zaher Nuwayhid, M.D. heads FIU Health’s new weight management and bariatric surgery program.

“Some people need professional help, and we can provide it – from supervised nutritional packages to medical weight loss programs to different kinds of bariatric surgeries, “says Nuwayhid, who this month is launching a weight management program at FIU Health, the College of Medicine’s faculty group practice.

Starting this January, Nuwayhid will host two free informational seminars each month for anyone interested in finding out more about the new program. The first Thursday of each month, the seminar will be held at the FIU Health office at Broward Health Medical Center in Ft. Lauderdale. The second Thursday of each month, the seminar will be held at the FIU Health office at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus.

“I’ll tell them everything they want to know about weight loss in general and also about the specific surgeries we offer, about each procedure – what they entail, how they are performed, the risks, the benefits. So they can make an informed choice,” Nuwayhid says.

You can reserve a seat by calling 954-523-2727.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is basically excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. It is generally measured by something called the Body Mass Index (BMI), a ratio of a person’s weight and height.

• A BMI greater than or equal to 25 is overweight.
• A BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
• Greater than or equal to 35 is morbid obesity.

More than a third, 78.6 million, U.S. adults, and 13 million children are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many are calling it an epidemic.

“Obesity is a disease,” Nuwayhid says. “It is a chronic disease that develops over years and with it comes a myriad of other medical problems: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, sleep apnea…”

Weight loss surgery

For many of Nuwayhid’s patients, surgery is often their last resort. He has performed nearly 500 successful bariatric surgeries, but says weight loss surgery is not for everyone. The FIU Health program carefully screens patients to make sure they are ready for surgery and afterward provides long-term follow-up that includes access to a support group.

“It is a life-changing event that you have to commit to and be dedicated to,” he says. “Weight loss is a tool that we give patients to live longer and healthier.”

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