Surgery seems a rather heavy-handed way of going about weight loss, but it’s a method that’s nonetheless skyrocketing in popularity both in the United States and in the UK. The region’s publicly-funded healthcare system, National Health Service (NHS), carried out 4,246 weight loss surgeries in 2008 through 2009. This is a ninefold increase compared to 480 procedures in 2003-04. Operations include stomach stapling and fitting gastric bands—drastic measures for an issue that can be tackled naturally through diet.
Obesity on the Rise Along with Weight Loss Surgeries
There’s no denying that more people are overweight now than ever before—1 billion adults worldwide with 300 million of them being clinically obese. The World Health Organization (WHO) repeatedly puts the UK and the US in the top 10 most obese nations list.
“These figures just show how bad things have got with the obesity epidemic,” says Tam Fry from the UK’s National Obesity Forum. He even attributes the option of surgery as incentive for many people to gain weight, since only those with a body mass index of 40—or 35 if they have a condition like diabetes—are recommended for it.
Doctors Line Pockets While Patients Pack Pounds
“There is a premise that if you feed yourself up, you get to the bar—35 BMI with comorbidities or 40 without—then the operation would be yours,” Fry explains.
With mounting pressure to perform surgeries—and likely the incentive of padded bank accounts, more doctors are making weight loss surgeries increasingly accessible to candidates. Fry bemoans that they are “starting to skirt around the rules and not insist on months of lifestyle change and pharmaceutical treatment—instead they are going straight for surgery.” While pharmaceutical treatment certainly isn’t the answer either, months of lifestyle change is.
What kind of lifestyle changes? You may be intrigued when you hear that physical inactivity is thought to kill an estimated 5.3 million individuals a year, and needless to say, it is also leading everyone to gain massive amounts of weight. Along with the issue of inactivity, people are eating more toxic food than ever before. Actually, people are simply eating more food than ever before, with portion sizes in restaurants quadrupling since the 1950s. Eating less, moving more, and buying organic are essential key steps in today’s society to combat obesity and countless other health issues.
Surprising Causes of Obesity
Because patients’ unhealthy eating and exercising habits do not always change after receiving various weight loss surgeries, the obesity epidemic continues to live on. Research shows that poor diet and inactivity aren’t the only reasons we’re packing on pounds, however. Allopathic physicians give out antibiotics that kill good bacteria in the gut and inhibit healthy digestion, and indoor and outdoor pollution in the air can lead to excess fat storage in infants. You might even have environmental toxins like gender-bending bisphenol-A and phthalates in your own bathroom and not even know it.
One thing is clear: it’s time we cleansed our plates and our environment. Only then will we regain our health.