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Can the Obesity Epidemic Be Resolved?

As a gamer, I’ve been quite sedentary in front of the computer. Video games go well with chips and soda. It was only years later (now that I am in my mid-30’s) that I feel I’m paying for all of the sugar. But it’s never too late — I’ve gone back to the gym and removed soft drinks (SODA WATER FTW!!!) from my diet.

One of the biggest problems in terms of health in this country is obesity. There are hundreds of different health organizations that continuously report on the fact that obesity is now a leading cause of death because of the associated health conditions. This includes type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. It is no secret that there is a true obesity epidemic in this country.

Consider, for a minute, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported that some 72 million people in this country are now obese. This is the same as 34% of all adults. Worryingly, this statistic is twice as high as it was just three decades ago. And it affects children as well, with 17% being obese, three times as high as three decades ago. And this only looks at obesity, meaning that the percentage would be much higher if it also counted those who are overweight.


Federal health officials had set a goal during the 1990s to limit the number of Americans who are obese to 15% by 2010. Obviously, they have failed at reaching this goal.

To lose weight, people turn to diet and exercise, as well as medication. However, these tactics have not been overly successful. The weight loss industry is worth some $33 billion a year, and this is growing. Yet, over a five year period, the failure rate is as high as 95%.

A Bariatric Solution
Because these methods are proven to be ineffective, people have started looking for other solutions, including bariatric surgery. Some 220,000 people in this country who were morbidly obese opted for some sort of bariatric surgery in 2009. This was reported by the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently approves various types of bariatric procedures, including the – Gastric Balloon.

A number of pieces of scientific research have demonstrated that bariatric surgery significantly improves quality of life, as well as urinary function, particularly in women. In a study conducted in Australia, women reported that they noticed the benefits within three to four months after having surgery. Scientists believe that the urinary function improvement is triggered due to the fact that there is less inner-abdominal pressure once they start to lose weight. The study looked at both men and women, and they found that they lost an average of 50 pounds within 32 months after their surgery.

Lap Band Surgery
Today, one of the most popular bariatric surgery options is the lap band, which is a type of adjustable gastric band. In this procedure, a small inflatable pouch filled made from silicone is placed at the top of the stomach. It is filled with around three tablespoons of saline liquid. This ensures food gets to the stomach much more slowly, meaning patients feel fuller quickly. According the FDA, the lap band is one of the safest and most effective types of bariatric surgery available today, as well as being the most popular.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

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