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Local Weight Loss Practice Shows How Science is Helping Understand & Treat Obesity

Obesity will be the focus of an event this Saturday, May 27th , as the nation continues to struggle with its waistline and the numerous diseases made worse by weight.  One local practice helps point out how science is helping those who are motivated to drop some pounds – and get healthier.

So the bad news about the obesity epidemic is it’s not going anywhere – despite increasing attention on weight loss, healthy eating, wellness.  The good news is science is helping the medical community learn more about what to do. 

Dr. Wendy Scinta cites the research behind how neuro-hormonal changes occur in the brain when people are trying to lose weight. 

“Understanding that when you lose weight you have higher hunger hormones; you have lower satiety hormones; you have lower metabolic rate.  All of those things create this picture of a very difficult situation to maintain weight loss.”

Dr. Wendy Scinta, of Medical Weight Loss of New York, runs Dora's Dream Charity to fight obesity in minority communities.

Scinta, who runs Medical Weight Loss of New York in Fayetteville, says obesity is also now scene as a disease – not just peoples’ physical weakness.  When she gets a client, she does medical testing to find out things such as metabolic rate and fat percentage to figure out how much someone can lose.  Once people are on the road to losing…there’s psychology behind keeping someone on track.

“What are your triggers?  What caused you to suddenly go this way or this way?  Are you getting hungry? Are you having what we call hedonic impulses, which are to eat for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger?  They have to do with happiness or sadness or emotional eating.”

Scinta is not a fan of the T-V shows that depict people losing hundreds of pounds.  Not only so many gain much of the weight back, She believes they emphasize killing it in the gym too much.

“You have to look at the nutritional needs first.  We lose weight in the kitchen not in the gym.  The gym and exercise help us maintain weight loss.  But if we don’t change our eating habits, you’re not going to lose weight as a woman, as a man you might lose a little bit.  By and large the work needs to be done in the kitchen and not at the gym.”

The food side of things is particularly important when it comes to kids.  One in three children in the U-S is overweight or obese…worse, one in three born since 2000 will develop diabetes…and there are other health problems including stunting growth. 

The most common obesity-related diseases are:

  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • High cholesterol
  • Gallstones
  • Osteoarthritis

She says children are bombarded by ads for bad food –social media, TV, phone apps.  But the real key is the food parents bring home.
“The younger the patient, the more likely that they have very little if anything to do with (the food) brought in the house.  So it becomes essential to have the conversation with the parents.  And also we talk to the parents about modeling behavior.  You as a parent, and also sister and brother, really (need to ) eat as you expect that obese or overweight child to eat.” 

She knows it’s convenient to hit the drive through…but tastes and habits are created in teen years that could sentence a child to life-ling poor eating – and possibly obesity. 

Dr. Scinta’s work will be highlighted at a fundraiser for her Dora's Dream Charity, which fights obesity in children in the minority community.  The fundraiser is hosted by WAER’s Cora Thomas.  Information is at:

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.