Recent studies have shown that 55% of the American population is overweight and about 10% is severely obese, and the numbers are growing. There is not a specific cause or reason for this health problem; instead, it is the combination of several different factors. Undoubtedly, genes play a big role in how an individual metabolizes food. The social economic environment plays a role in shaping an individual’s lifestyle. In the past few years, life has become more sedentary, with the average person spending the majority of the time working behind a desk and then coming home to watch TV or surf the Internet. In addition to an increasingly inactive lifestyle, it also has become easier and easier for an individual to have access to foods that are high in calories, high in fat and have a high carbohydrate content. The bombardment of advertisements for restaurants, fast food chains, ready-made-pop-in-the-oven foods, and ice creams makes it even more difficult for a person to restrain oneself from eating those fattening, but tasty, foods.
Obesity is a SERIOUS health problem. The average life expectancy for an obese person is 58 compared to the average of 78 for non-obese men and women. Diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, infertility, urinary incontinence, knee and back pain, arthritis, high cholesterol, depression, and increased rate of cancer are just a few of the health problems associated with obesity (comorbid symptoms). The death rate for a morbidly obese patient is 3% compared to less than 1% for the average non-obese person. Americans are aware of the health risks associated with obesity. Each year Americans spend billions of dollars on diets, exercise equipment, health and fitness clubs, trainers, and drugs that promise the miracle of quick and permanent weight loss. The sad truth is that only 5% of those who lose weight by dieting (if they indeed lose weight) will keep it off for more than 5 years. The vast majority will eventually gain back all the weight PLUS an undetermined amount of extra pounds. At this point in time SURGERY or Specifically Bariatric Surgery (obesity surgery) is the only effective and definitive treatment for severe obesity.