Doctor jump-starts fight against obesity

Doctor Conrad Lai co-founded Jumpstart Medicine, a practice dedicated to physician-supervised weight loss. It has offices in the Bay Area, including San Francisco’s Financial District and Laurel Village, and Redwood City and Millbrae.

Can you briefly describe your work? We treat people from all walks of life, offering a weight-loss program that’s more structured than retail programs like Jenny Craig. Some of our patients opt for prescription medicine, and we help them use that as a tool.

Aren’t eating right and exercising the best ways to lose weight? It’s a misnomer that … exercising more makes people lose weight. Studies have shown that there’s an 80-20 … balance, that 80 percent of weight loss can be attributed to changes in diet.

Do you have any tips for the holiday season? Half the battle is in being aware and knowing the calories of what you’re eating. But don’t starve or deprive yourself; that never serves anyone well.

What career path brought you to your current practice? I worked in emergency medicine for years, and there I saw the effects of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. These all can be resolved with weight loss.

How do society and the health care industry affect what you do? We’ve tackled smoking. The next big epidemic to tackle is obesity. It’s not just a matter of will power; it also takes education and awareness.

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