Over the last 10 years in the UK admissions to hospital for obesity surgery have increase by 10 fold. One of the most common weight loss procedures is gastric band surgery, which is when a band is placed around the stomach to restrict the amount of food that can be eaten.
Surgery is a very serious step to take to tackle obesity as it is not without risk. Obese patients can often suffer from hemorrhaging problems as well as problems with administering anaesthetics. However, even though there is a real risk associated with this type of surgery often the long term benefits of losing a lot of weight often outweight the short term risks associated with major surgery.
More Bariatric Operations
In a study published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre it was found that almost twice as many people in the UK had operations in 2010 as in the previous year, with 7,214 operations, and of these 80% of operations were on obese women.
In addition to more operations, overall trends show that there is a continued rise in the number of children with obesity, especially children under the age of 5.
“In 2009/10, the NCMP data shows that around one in ten pupils in Reception class (aged 4-5 years) were classified as obese (9.8%)”
This is possibly the most worrying trend, as it indicates that children are becoming obese before they enter the school system. Parents are allowing their children to eat far too much food.
The problem is thought to be a combination of changing attitude to food and weight as well as an increase in the availability of high energy foods, and less time for parents to prepare meals due to increasing demands from work.
Some Promising News
The report by The Health and Social Care Information Centre did reveal some positive news; generally people are now consuming less saturated fat, trans fat and added sugar than they were 10 years ago. In recent years there have been reports of falling rates of heart disease. This is obviously excellent news, however, the overall trend is still rising waist lines and increased BMIs which gives rise to many more life threatening conditions such as diabetes, which in turn increases risk of heart disease, strokes and blindness.
People Eat Their Way Around Gastric Bands
The report also uncovered an even more worrying trend – gastric band surgery is not always guaranteed to result in permanent weight loss. Gastric banding only reduces the amount of solid food that can be consumed in one sitting, it does not restrict liquid in take.
There have been increased stories in recent years of people gaining weight after gastric band operations because they start to liquidize junk food so that they can eat it. Along with eating melted ice-cream and blended chocolate bars, people liquidize curries, fries and even pizzas. It seems that people with a large appetite will always want to eat more and this adds some weight to the idea that some cases of obesity do have a genetic cause.
There are some genes which when present will make a person genuinely hungrier and therefore more likely to become obese. Although many people who carry such genes manage to control their appetite and maintain a healthy lifestyle with good diet and plenty of exercise, many others simply give in to the temptation to eat.
Weight management is certainly a very complex subject. Although the basic practicals are very simple, i.e. eat no more than your body requires, in practice it can be far more difficult to follow this rule.
“Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet: England, 2011” Published by The Health and Social Care Information Centre. URL: http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/opad11