Obesity is a surgical disease: overview of obesity and bariatric surgery

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The problem of obesity is common worldwide and is increasing rapidly. The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than 1.1 billion overweight adults in the world and over 300 million are obese. The number of people afflicted is so great that the only logical solution at a community level is prevention. However, the steady increase in prevalence indicates that the current preventive strategies have not yet begun to have an effect. In the meantime, those with an established problem of obesity need help. The medical treatment of obesity is relatively ineffective. Optimal application of a programme of best practice for healthy eating, exercise, behavioural modification, supplemented by drug therapy, might lead to a weight loss of up to 10 kg, if applied continuously. This amount of weight loss is usually insufficient for effective treatment of obesity and its comorbidities and optimal and continuous application of the programme is rarely achieved. The surgical treatment of obesity a?? bariatric surgery (from the Greek, baros a?? weight; and iatrikos a?? the art of healing) a?? is the most rapidly growing area of surgical practice today. It is almost guaranteed success as the problem it addresses is so common and as a therapy, bariatric surgery, has no serious competitors from other areas of medicine. Furthermore, it is so effective in controlling the comorbidities of obesity that it makes weight loss the most powerful treatment we have available in health care today. It is timely that, in this issue, the Journal provides two reports of the preliminary experience with LAGB procedures by two groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200 - 204
Number of pages5
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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