According to Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm, Americans spend more than $60 billion a year fighting the battle of the bulge. The enormous weight-loss industry includes everything from diet programs to gym memberships to exercise equipment. Lost in all this excess, however, are the underwhelming, downright depressing statistics the folks who want to lose weight must face.
At a time when Americans are working out and dieting more than ever, our waistlines are still expanding. One-third of the U.S. population is now officially obese, while two-thirds are merely overweight. In the past three decades, adult obesity has doubled, and childhood rotundity has tripled. The negative effect our growing sizes have had on our collective health is nothing short of shocking.
The Cold, Hard Facts
Obesity is now the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, putting it ahead of smoking and drunk driving. It is primarily responsible for the rapid increase in chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The toll it takes on your body can shorten your life expectancy by up to eight years, according to a recent study.
An oft-quoted statistic tells us that 95 percent of dieters regain the weight they lost. Many overweight and obese people try dozens of diets before throwing in the proverbial towel. They waste their time and money hoping that things will change, but they rarely ever do. The reason? Diets only work if you’re on them 24/7/365. The moment you go off them, your waistline will most likely return to its former size. The only proven way to win the battle of the bulge once and for all is to have obesity surgery.
How It Works
One of the reasons obese people can eat more than average folks is that they have far more capacious stomachs. Obesity or bariatric surgery addresses this issue by reducing the size of the organ, making it impossible for patients to comfortably consume huge amounts of food. Whether the stomach is simply restricted by a gastric band or has a piece surgically removed, the patient will be physically incapable of overeating at any given time.
How Effective Is It?
Just about everyone who has obesity surgery loses some weight during the first 18-24 months. After that time, many patients regain some of the pounds they lost, but few of them regain it all. The surgery has also proven remarkably effective in treating chronic, weight-related conditions such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Who Needs It?
As we have mentioned, obesity is extremely harmful to a person’s health. Furthermore, studies show that the risk of death from chronic, weight-related issues returns to normal once a person’s waistline shrinks to a healthy size. But what exactly is a healthy waistline? There are several accepted parameters.
According to the latest research, people with a body mass index (BMI) of between 35 and 39.99 who have weight-related conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, could benefit greatly from obesity surgery. The ideal candidate is also someone who has been unable to maintain a healthy size with diets and exercise. It is also important to note that patients should understand the risks associated with any surgical procedure.
Far more effective than non-surgical options, bariatric surgery offers a permanent solution for obesity.