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Next President Faces Obesity

Hillary Rodham Clinton Mike Gravel Mike Huckabee Alan Keyes
Clinton Gravel Huckabee Keyes
John McCain Barack Obama Ron Paul
McCain Obama Paul

As the race to determine the next President of the United States begins to pick up steam and public attention, the issue of health reform is also gaining traction. But on top of figuring out how best to revise our health coverage system, many are concerned with how to improve our actual health. A recent 2007 conference convened a host of Democratic and Republican presidential candidate advisors to discuss what the next president needs to do about obesity.

Why obesity? In the past 4 decades, the number of obese Americans has almost doubled. But the real issue may be that as health care costs continue to rise, experts are looking for someone to blame. The obese are an easy target because not only can you recognize them immediately, their weight brings with it a whole host of health problems that some say are overloading the system and boosting the costs of health care for all.

Whether health problems are caused by obesity directly or indirectly is becoming a matter of growing dispute.

  • Decreasing death and illness rates among increasingly obese heart patients challenges the notion that at least some obese people are unhealthier as a direct result – the “obesity paradox.”
  • Documented bias among doctors against obese people leading to misdiagnosis and insufficient preventive care would show that obesity can lead to inadequate treatment.

Whether all obesity is the same, avoidable and treatable has also yet to be determined. But it is clearly no longer ignorable. Perhaps this news is most welcome to the obese themselves; maybe now they’re closer to getting the care they deserve.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Dan February 28, 2009, 4:14 pm

    The Potential Results Of Obesity

    Obesity has been defined as when excess body fat accumulates in one to where their physical overgrowth makes the person unhealthy to varying degrees. Obesity is different than being overweight, as others determine obesity to be of a more serious concern. While obesity is not a disease, it is a serious health risk for one who has this risk.
    As measured by one’s body mass index (BMI), one’s BMI of 25 to 30 kg/m is considered overweight. If their BMI is 30 to 35 kg/m, they are class I obese, 35 to 40 BMI would be class II obese, and any BMI above 40 is class III obesity.
    Presently, with obesity affecting children progressively more, the issue of obesity has become a serious public health concern. In the United States, greater than one third of all citizens are obese, and this number continues to progress.
    Approximately half of all children under the age of 12 are either obese are overweight. About twenty percent of children ages 2 to 5 years old are either obese are overweight. The consequences of these stats on our children are very concerning, considering the health issues they may or likely experience as they get older.
    Worldwide, nearly one and a half billion people are either obese or overweight. In the United States, about one third of adults are either obese or overweight.
    Women of low socioeconomic status are likely to be twice as obese compared with those who are not at this status. It is now predicted that, for the first time in about 150 years, our life expectancy is suppose to decline because primarily of this obesity problem.
    Morbid obesity is defined as one who has a body mass index of 30 kg/m or greater, and this surgery, along with the three other types of surgery for morbid obesity, should be considered a last resort after all other methods to reduce the patient’s weight have chronically failed.
    Morbid obesity greatly affects the health of the patient in a very negative way. It has about 10 co-morbidities that can develop if the situation is not corrected. Some if not most of these co-morbidities are life-threatening.
    One solution beneficial in many cases of morbid obesity if one’s obesity is not eventually controlled or corrected is what is known as gastric bypass surgery. This is a type of bariatric surgery that essentially reduces the volume of the human stomach in order to correct and treat morbid obesity by surgical re-construction of the stomach and small intestine.
    Patients for such surgeries are those with a BMI of greater than 40, or a BMI greater than 35 if the patient has co-morbidities aside from obesity. This surgery should be considered for the severely obese when other treatment options have failed. The standard of care illustrating as to whether this surgery is reasonable and necessary should be clarified.
    There are three surgical variations of gastric bypass surgery, and one is chosen by the surgeon based on their experience and success from the variation they will utilize. Generally, these surgeries are procedures related to gastric restrictive operations or mal-absorptive operations.
    Over 200,000 gastric bypass surgeries are performed each year, and this surgery being performed continues to progress as a suitable option for the morbidly obese. There is evidence that this surgery is particularly beneficial for those obese patients that have non-insulin dependent Diabetes Mellitus as well.
    It is believed that the results of this surgery to correct morbid obesity greatly limits or prevents such co-morbidities associated with those who are obese. Yet about two percent of those who undergo this surgery die as a result from about a half a dozen complications that could occur. However, the surgery reduces the overall mortality of the patient by 40 percent or so, yet this percentage is debatable due to conflicting clinical studies at times.
    Age of the patient should be taken into consideration, as to whether or not the risks of this surgery outweigh any potential benefits for the patient who may have existing co-morbidities that have already caused physiological damage to the patient. Also what should be determined by the surgeon is the amount of safety, effectiveness, and rationale for a particular patient regarding those patients who are elderly, for example.
    Many feel bariatric surgery such as this should be considered as a last resort when exercise and diet have failed for a great length of time.
    If a person or a doctor is considering this type of surgery, there is a website dedicated to bariatric surgery, which is: http://www.asmbs.org,

    Dan Abshear

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