Obesity – A growing problem

Obesity – A growing problem

With a recent Government report showing that obesity in UK adults has roughly doubled from 13% to 26% in the past 20 years, and that obesity is known to be a major risk factor for our health, it’s time to do something about it. That’s why the Government and NHS have put in place programmes to help educate the public, helping those who are fit to stay that way, and those who are overweight or obese to shed weight and get fitter.

One clear indicator of a person’s fitness and health is their BMI (Body Mass Index), which uses age, gender and a weight-to-height ratio to produce a guide rating. You can check this out in the Living Well section of the NHS website, with the following being a guide to BMI ranges:

Underweight = BMI less than 18.5
Normal weight = BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9
Overweight = BMI of 25 and 29.9
Obese = BMI of more than 30

People with a BMI of 25 to 35 are encouraged to implement lifestyle changes, including a healthier diet and exercise programmes, which can be supported through their GP or self-help programmes. Psychological help or weight loss medication can also be arranged through GPs. For people with a BMI of 35 and over, or when all of the above have been unsuccessful, weight loss (bariatric) surgery can also be considered.

Bariatric surgery can be very effective, reducing most people’s excess weight by around 50% to 70%. It can also help reduce patient deaths from some cancers and heart disease, in many cases cure type-2 diabetes, and reduce conditions such as obstructive sleep apnoea, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis and coronary heart disease. By doing so, it could help to reduce the annual burden on the NHS caused by these conditions.

A new bariatric facility in the South East

As part of its multi-million pound redevelopment, Benenden Hospital has introduced a new weight loss service, with specialist facilities and a team consisting of highly experienced surgeons, specially trained nursing staff, dieticians and counsellors. They offer two weight loss surgeries: gastric band or sleeve gastrectomy.

These laparoscopic procedures work in different ways: a gastric band restricts the amount of food that can be eaten, while a sleeve gastrectomy removes around 75% to 80% of the stomach for the same effect. Both procedures require a high level of commitment from the patient, with the sleeve gastrectomy being non-reversible.

For more information about the bariatric services provided by Benenden Hospital, please phone 01580 242 521 or visit www.benendenhospital.org.uk