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Obesity: is more surgery the answer?


The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently proposed an increase in weight loss surgery to help combat type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to lifestyle and obesity. The surgery is currently only available for those with a BMI of 35 or over who also have life-threatening conditions, but the new NICE guidelines include those with a BMI of 30 or over who have also been diagnosed with diabetes in the last 10 years. This would involve a potential leap in surgery from 8,000 a year to around 850,000, reports the BBC.

With one obesity-related headline after another jostling for top spot in the daily news, gransnetters have weighed in on this (often emotive) topic with their thoughts. 

What or who is to blame?

"It feels like a witch hunt by the skinnies at present with all the judgemental press coverage and finger pointing. We are not all gluttons with no self-control. Some of us are victims of our heredity." Gagagran

"Why increase the use of this expensive and potentially dangerous major surgery when medical and nutritional experts have already said that drinks and processed foods are the main reasons for obesity? Surely, part of the problem could be addressed by bringing in legislation to curb unhealthy ingredients in processed foods. It seems the Government would rather burden the NHS than upset their friends in the food industry." Eloethan

"I think the food industry with its horrible additive-full, sugar-laden, chemically-enhanced rubbish needs to be held to account. Politicians need to be completely free of any links to these companies, health advisers and advisory organisations should not have any sponsorship from them and the message 'processed food bad, real food good' should be heard loud and clear." Mamie

What about the cost of weight loss surgery?

"I have spoken to nurses working in bariatric medicine and their opinion is that it is better to fit a band than allow the patient to develop type 2 diabetes. The cost of the operation is cheaper than medical care for the obese." Harrigan

Clearly, prevention is better than cure, but gransnetters agree that you have to really want to lose weight - no amount of nagging is going to work otherwise.

"It is pointless to give this operation to someone who is not committed to making the necessary changes in their life style to maintain their weight loss and lead a healthy life." FlicketyB

"There is evidence that really drastic calorie control measures can reduce the chances of and occasionally reverse type 2 diabetes, but people need to have the motivation to actually change their diets...Unless people make these changes, even with surgery it will not help." Nelliemoser


So, which weight loss methods are gransnetters talking about?

"Has anyone tried the hypnotic virtual gastric band? I see that Paul McKenna has got in on the act. If it works, I'd prefer it to having to go under the knife." annodomini

"There is a lot more talk now about treating overeating as an addiction which I feel might be the way to go." suebailey1

Obesity related topics...
  • Have your say on our thread.
  • The junk food trap blog.
  • Chat about diets.

"I find that by doing my shopping at small supermarkets, where the choice is more restricted, I avoid temptation and save money." vegasmags

"I was inspired by my GP surgery, who recommend the DASH [dietary approaches to stop hypertension] diet. I have ordered the book. The scales have come out from under the bed, at long last!" anneey

Or there's Aka's tongue-in-cheek solution: "Short of having a fat tax (an extra 1p on basic level of income tax per extra kg overweight) or incarcerating the obese in fat camps I can't see a way forward... only joking... I think."

And finally... 

NICE make it clear on their website that "the recommendations are provisional and may change after consultation." But the problem is not going to just go away.

"NICE look at the big picture and this is a rather frightening scenario in which the number of people with type 2 diabetes is going to rise very rapidly." JessM

So what do you think? Have your say on our thread.

Original images: Shutterstock