Dr. Sowemimo, known to everyone as “Dr. Seun,” medical director of Prime Surgicare in Freehold, has been passionate about weight loss and weight management since his medical school training at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Columbia University and Yale University. “Early in my studies, I was struck by how much damage carrying excess weight can do to the body — and the person’s quality of life,” Dr. Seun explains. “Over time, obesity will probably shorten your life span by years — not months.”
The advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon’s professional passion is focused on very overweight people who at the highest risk of weight-related heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, high blood pressure and cancer. We sat down to ask him about the obesity war here in the metro New York City and New Jersey region.
Q. Why has New Jersey’s adult obesity rate more than doubled in the past 20 years?
A. For starters, New Jerseyans are consuming a greater calorie load with too much sugar and not enough nutrition, especially in terms of protein. Another big challenge is portion distortion. Overall, the general population is performing less physical activity because everyone’s favorite exercise is using their fingers to play on their phones or computers.
Read the 2016 Report New Jersey: The State of Obesity >>>
Q. How can obesity medicine doctors help?
Obesity is usually a family-wide issue, so it helps if the family leader has the resolve to change the home-based nutrition and exercise dynamic. This multi-generational health risk usually requires support and guidance from obesity professionals who are specially-trained to help Mom and Dad’s weight problem — and also Grandma’s and the children’s obesity risk.
On a side note, we’re starting to see more medical school training in patient obesity diagnosis, counseling and treatment. This is a huge milestone.
Q. What is your approach to obesity treatment?
A. As a surgeon who specializes in weight loss surgery, my patients often come to see me after they are diagnosed with weight-related chronic medical conditions that require expensive medications, frequent doctor visits and even hospitalization.
I would rather treat patients who have a large amount of weight to lose, but are not impeded by multiple medical issues that can delay surgery approval or even make it impossible.
Substantial weight loss can also be accomplished without surgery, certainly. But it takes a long time to see results and many people, especially diabetics, want to get off the insulin and other medications sooner. Bariatric surgery can put diabetes in remission very soon after surgery.
Q. Is it true that some people are genetically disposed toward obesity?
A. If you have one parent who is obese, that increases your risk of obesity to 50 percent; if both parents are obese, that rises to 80 percent. The next time you are eating at a restaurant, look around at families dining together; you will see confirmation of this fact.
Even if you are at high risk for the disease of obesity, you can significantly modify genetic risk through diet and exercise.
Q. What are the top five weight loss/management tips you give Prime Surgicare patients?
- Plan healthy, protein-rich meals in advance. Grocery shop more often if necessary.
- Add exercise to your calendar every day, just like a dentist appointment.
- 7/7: Sleep on a regular schedule seven days /week; aim for seven hours of quality rest.
- Drink 64 ounces of water every day.
- Get rid of the sugar in your food and your beverages.
Q. Any other weight loss recommendations?
A. Obesity is a disease, just like diabetes.
If you have tried multiple diet and exercise programs and did not achieve your weight loss goal, it’s time to connect with a healthcare professional who can guide you.
If you have less weight to lose, see your personal physician to talk about options that suit your current health, your weight loss needs and your lifestyle.
We offer a multidisciplinary approach to help patients attain significant weight loss. To date, our board-certified weight loss surgery surgeons have performed more than 1,000 bariatric procedures at CentraState Medical Center (a Bariatric Center of Excellence). To get started, register for one of our free monthly bariatric seminars or webinars, or call our weight loss surgery specialists at (732) 982-2002 to schedule your private consultation.
Dr. Seun Sowemimo and Dr. Bennet Togbe are board-certified and fellowship-trained, general, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeons in NJ. They specialize in minimally invasive weight loss surgery and general surgery procedures including diverticulitis, gallbladder and hernia conditions. They are the top NJ surgeons at Prime Surgicare, with offices in Freehold serving Monmouth and Ocean counties.
To learn more, visit our YouTube channel or call Prime Surgicare at (732)-982-2002.