More young women seek bariatric surgery

You know, I hate it when I lose a whole big long post. Sigh. Ah, well, here’s another shot:

Bariatric surgery–especially among young people (especially women)–rose sevenfold from 1996 to 2002. More insurance companies are covering it (so far, if you live through it, it’s the most successful intervention available to prevent the multiple problems associated with obesity), and hospitals make a fortune on it ($2 billion in 2002 alone). And then there’s the plastic surgery that many want afterwards…

The lines between ethics and income get blurrier with every increase in the number of patients who seek potentially dangerous surgery rather than choose healthier lifestyles–and considering it’s mostly women who seek surgical solutions, this option further reinforces our society’s already unrealistic demands for female thinness without regard to health consequences.

But good news. An NIH-funded consortium is studying the the causes of and potential treatments for obesity. One study is examining “the impact of restrictive (laparoscopic banding) versus malabsorptive (gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion) surgical procedures on hormones presumed to affect appetite may provide insights leading to new, non-surgical obesity treatments that mimic the appetite-suppressive effects of surgery.” [emphasis mine]

It’ll be great if scientists can find these treatments soon–many diabetes sufferers will be able to experience greater control of their critical blood sugar levels. But I’m also glad that we’re taking steps to deal with the fundamental causes of increases in obesity among a larger percentage of Americans (and Canadians, too)–high levels of fat, sugar and corn syrup (glucose syrup) in practically everything we buy in the store–and, oh, yeah…

…not enough exercise. Look at these recommendations for activity from the U.S. government in 2005.

  • That 30-minutes-most-days of moderate-intensity physical activity–that’s just to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  • To have any effect at all on weight and prevent gradual gain, they say you need 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week (oh, and you can’t eat too many calories).
  • Get ready now. To sustain weight loss in adulthood you’ve go to do 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity .

Okay, I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to rethink my gym schedule. Let’s see, an hour and a half a day to exercise, an hour to shower and do the hair, an hour to reset up… Gosh. Our next goal is going to have to be getting the American workweek down–by several hours at least.