How common is obesity in our society?
60% at least overweight range (bmi above 25), 30% obese (bmi >30). Figures are national statistics from 4 years ago so may be higher now. Australia has been one of the top 5 high incidence nations with obesity.
What are the health risks for someone suffering from obesity?
Multiple risks for disease impacting on wellbeing, lifestyle and ultimately life expectancy. Include well known ones like heart disease, stroke, also diabetes, high cholesterol, fatty liver that form part of the metabolic syndrome. Also leads to joint problems like arthritis, impaired sleeping and daytime fatigue from sleep apnoea. Lesser known issues include a higher risk of certain cancers and infertility.
Can obesity be resolved by dieting and exercise?
If calorie intake is reduced by eating less energy dense foods and drinks, and more calories are burnt by increased activity then body fat and weight should reduce. This tends to be only modest weight loss and the challenge is maintaining that weight loss. Once obesity becomes chronic, studies show that dieting and exercise is very unlikely to be substantial or contribute to a healthy outcome, in comparison to surgery.
What are the other available treatments and weight loss options?
Surgery has been performed for obesity for over 50 years, although only in the last 20 years or so become more commonplace and accepted. The keyhole sleeve gastrectomy is the most common operation where a large part of the stomach is stapled and removed to turn it from a large sac to a tube to enable patients to feel less hungry and feel full very early. Keyhole gastric banding is not so commonly done now. Keyhole gastric bypass is very effective, especially for diabetes and over the long term. Endoscopic or so called ‘incisionless sleeve surgery’ is being investigated, but at this stage it is not comparable to surgery and the effectiveness and safety of this even beyond 1 year is not clear.