Obesity affects both physical and emotional health, and with almost one-third of the adult population suffering from it, it has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. It disrupts physical functions as basic as breathing and can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Additionally, societal perceptions of attractiveness and assumptions about obesity can result in damaged self-esteem and other emotional consequences.
The problem at hand is undeniable, and the question is: what’s the solution for those who make up that one-third of the population?
The Complexity of the Problem
There’s a widespread assumption that all that’s required to overcome obesity is a healthy diet and exercise. While that may be true for some people who are considered overweight, it’s often not applicable to morbidly obese individuals, especially those whose obesity can be linked to genetics, hormonal imbalances, and metabolic disorders. Research has shown that these traditional methods of treatment are unlikely to result in sustained weight loss for obese individuals.
Weight loss surgery, on the other hand, often results in long-term weight loss for obese patients who have tried other weight loss methods with little or no lasting success; in fact, a recent meta-analysis tells us that patients showed a 59 percent reduction in excess body weight two years after surgery.
The Consequences of Obesity
Obesity is a serious disease that can either cause or worsen dangerous health conditions. Overweight individuals are more likely to experience high LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), high levels of fat in the blood (triglycerides), and high blood pressure, all of which are contributors to heart disease and stroke. Obesity also increases the risks for certain types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Moreover, mortality rates for the morbidly obese are 50 to 100 percent higher than members of the normal-weight population.
In addition to its alarming contribution to serious illness, obesity gets in the way of day-to-day functioning. Obese individuals often experience breathing problems, limited mobility, and a subsequent inability to perform physical activity. These limitations, combined with the social bias and discrimination that many obese people face, can significantly lower self-esteem and interfere with the motivation to improve the situation.
While bariatric surgery is one of the most effective ways for obese patients to lose weight and maintain the loss, it’s not for everyone. Weight loss surgery patients must meet several criteria, including a minimum excess weight of 100 pounds. If you fall into this category, bariatric surgery might be the long-term solution you’ve been looking for.