BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Obesity is a huge problem in America with nearly 15 million people termed grossly overweight. Some of them are candidates for weight loss surgery, not only to help them lose weight, but also to lower the more important number—body mass index, or BMI. For years, that BMI had to be 40 to qualify for surgery, but a few months ago, the government had to lower it to 30.
42.9 percent of American adults are classified obese with a body mass index of 30 or higher.
Kuldeep Singh, MD, Bariatric Surgeon at Mercy Medical Baltimore explains, “As it climbs up and up, with every 5 increased points in BMI, somebody’s chances of dying goes up by 30 percent.”
A statistic not lost on Kate Gauss, who at 5’3”, used to weigh 270 pounds with a BMI of 47.
Kate says, “My whole life I had been overweight, and I felt like if I lose that weight, then I lose part of who I am.”
Kate is a diabetic. But even more alarming, her body fat was choking her liver.
Kate explains, “We found that I had an enlarged fatty liver.”
Doctor Singh says, “When somebody realizes that there is a problem with their obesity, I think they cross a line. Either something happened in their life, or something they were doing that they couldn’t do anymore.”
Shortly after that bad news, Kate’s sugars soared and she was hit with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Kate had weight-loss surgery, bringing her weight down to 148 and her BMI to 26 in 18 months.
“The beauty of gastric bypass is that it’s tested for over 60 years.” Doctor Singh says.
After three decades of needing a BMI of 40 to qualify for bariatric Surgery, the government lowered that number to 30 because obesity soared 170 percent.
Kate says, “Surgery is essentially just a tool, but that’s all it is—it’s a tool. You still have to put in the work.”
Bariatric surgery improves all obesity-related health problems including heart disease, stroke, cancer and even sleep apnea. Doctor Singh says there are two types and he recommends the gastric sleeve surgery.
Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor, Kirk Manson, videographer.
BARIATRIC SURGERY: NEW QUALIFYING GUIDELINES
BACKGROUND: The definition of overweight and obesity is abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index (BMI) is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify overweight and obesity in adults. The World Health Organization defines overweight and obesity, for adults, as a BMI greater than or equal to 25, and obesity is greater than or equal to 30. BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. Supportive environments and communities are fundamental in shaping people’s choices, and by making choices like healthier foods and regular physical activity, it can help prevent overweight and obesity. At the individual level, people can limit energy intake from total fats and sugars; increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and engage in regular physical activity (60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults).
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES: The primary cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended. There has been an increased intake of energy-dense foods, globally, that are high in fat and sugars, and an increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work. Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education. Raised BMI is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases; diabetes; musculoskeletal disorders (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints); some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon). The risk for these noncommunicable diseases increases when BMI increases.
NEW RESEARCH IN OBESITY: New research suggests that obesity is promoting pro-inflammatory conditions which worsen arthritis. Researchers from the University of Birmingham have found that specific cells in the joint lining tissue of patients with osteoarthritis are being changed due to factors associated with obesity. Studies have shown fat tissue that has been metabolically altered by obesity releases proteins called cytokines and adipokines, which are known to promote inflammation around the body. Obesity also changes the environment within the joint itself, leaving cells in the joint vulnerable to being ‘turned’ into those that promote inflammation. Zoe Chivers, Director of Services and Influencing at the charity Versus Arthritis said, “The research reveals that obesity can lead to a change in the cells in the joint lining to make them more inflammatory, and that these changes occur not only in load bearing joints such as the knee and hips, but also in non-load bearing joints such as the hand.”
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