Obesity — The Pandemic Within the Pandemic - In conversation with Steven Maurice Clark MD, FACS

Point of View
3 min readMar 7, 2022
Steven Maurice Clark MD, FACS

Obesity is one of today’s most blatantly obvious — yet most overlooked — public health issues. Paradoxically coexisting with undernutrition, a growing global epidemic of weight issues and obesity — “globesity” — is taking over many parts of the world. If immediate action is not taken, millions will suffer from a range of serious health disorders.

We’re speaking with Steven Clark, the director of bariatric medicine and general bariatric surgeon at Community Physicians Network, an integrated healthcare system. Steven approaches patients with empathy, looks at health problems holistically, and thinks critically about issues. He shares his insights on the obesity pandemic, and how we should approach health and healthcare.

Obesity — over the past two years, it has been the hidden pandemic we are facing within the overt pandemic. It is one of the many collateral damages that have been caused by COVID. You mentioned health being somewhat like compound interest. Tell us more about this analogy.

“Obesity is an extremely difficult situation and encompasses a range of serious social, physical, and psychological dimensions. This condition affects almost all age and socioeconomic groups and exists in developed and developing countries. Once stuck in the cycle of obesity, many find it difficult to break themselves out of it, but you must start somewhere. I too have been caught in this vicious cycle, and it took me years to lose the weight, but it taught me the importance of working hard and taking the process step-by-step. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the rates of obesity, a trend that can be attributed to lack of physical exercise, being stuck indoors, high levels of stress and anxiety, and overall lack of motivation due to an uncertain environment.

“I like to compare any kind of healthcare journey to compound interest. You start with a small investment, and slowly, the principal investment starts earning interest and can earn more and more over time. You start with earning interest on the initial investment, and finally, the interest also earns interest. Weight-loss, or any other healthcare journey for that matter, functions the same way. You have to start somewhere — small changes over a period of time make a tremendous difference.

“People greatly overestimate what they can do in one year, but woefully underestimate what they can accomplish in five years. I think of my experience of getting out of debt and building our retirement fund; it was a slow start, but I finally reached the goal. If you watch how a child learns to walk, play a musical instrument, or ride a bicycle, the day-to-day change is barely perceptible, but over an extended period of time, all those small everyday improvements lead to a wonderful finished product.”

Thanks for that interesting analogy, Steven.



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