The number of Aussies admitted to hospital for weight loss surgery has more than doubled in a decade. With so many non-surgical weight loss options available, why is this on the rise?
What is weight loss surgery?
Weight loss surgery refers to undergoing an operation designed to achieve substantial weight loss for patients who have a degree of obesity that is clinically harmful. There is extensive evidence now showing a relationship between being overweight and having multiple health conditions (referred to as comorbidities). These include but are by no means limited to type 2 diabetes, sleep apnoea, asthma, hypertension (high blood pressure), arthritis, depression, and a number of cancers. The level of obesity at which health problems begin to occur is most commonly defined based on the body mass index (BMI) which is a calculation based on someone’s height and weight. Once the BMI exceeds around 35, the risk of developing, or successfully treating obesity-related comorbidities becomes increasingly difficult. There is also extremely reliable evidence that suggests the ability to lose and maintain weight loss for patients who already have a BMI at this level is extremely difficult to achieve.
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