Something controversial

by Khushboo on July 26, 2011

I woke up rather early (6 am early) this morning for no reason whatsoever.  I know I’m an early riser but this was kinda ridiculous.  After tossing and turning for 30 minutes and then deciding I was hungry, I headed to the kitchen for breakfast, a cuppa tea and then switched on the news- how mature am I? :). Before you answer that, I probably shouldn’t admit that my laptop’s battery died on me!

Interestingly enough, one of the topics discussed was whether NHS should spend money on more equipment to tackle the rising levels of obesity across the UK.  High demand for stomach surgery for obese patients as well as the cost of specialist equipment such as larger examination costs means costs have shot up. I know it’s a bit risky giving my opinion on such a controversial issue so here goes nothing:

Director Steven Evanson said: “People are getting bigger, wider and heavier.  Why shouldn’t they have a comfortable time when they go to the toilet?” I apologise if I sound harsh but I don’t understand how not installing specialised equipment for obese individuals counts as a form of discrimination.  To be honest it irritates me that people are putting obesity in the same category as gender or race.  The latter two are uncontrollable.  I recognize that obesity is a result of a medical condition for some but for the majority, it’s a sum of their own choices and behaviors.  Yes maybe some people have reached a point where losing weight is truly an inconceivable task.  But at the same time other weight loss options other than surgery need to be explored.

As obesity costs the NHS around £4.2bn annually and the wider economy £16bn, Britain no doubt needs to combat its ‘obesity epidemic’.  These funds are primarily spent on gastric bypass operations, stomach stapling, jaw wiring, cosmetic surgery and medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and numerous other roll-over problems .  Surely spending money on equipment and procedures is encouraging obesity because individuals feel there IS a quick fix.  There is no easy way out.  A surgery may produce weight loss but will it keep it off? Probably not.  More time, energy and resources need to be spent on educating individuals on preventive measures and raising awareness.  Procedures such as bariatric surgery should only be recommended as a last resort option when lifestyle and behavioral changes have failed.

Additionally the root cause needs to be dealt with.  For someone to become morbidly obese, I think it takes something much deeper, much more psychological than a mere misunderstanding of nutrition and an aversion to exercise. There is a source to every problem.
Do you think NHS should continue spending money on surgical procedures as a means to control obesity?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Parita @ myinnershakti July 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm

NO! I agree that genetics plays a part, but I have seen way to many people fight and win, so I know people can achieve a healthier life. I think money needs to be spent on awareness and education…in order to change people first need to understand. That’s just my 2 cents!


The Healthy Engineer July 26, 2011 at 9:47 pm

There’s a line between overweight and obsese…and I think lack of time or knowledge contributes to being overweight…but you’re right about something more contributing to obesity such as a traumatic event or maybe even just genes.


Sara K July 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

Talk about a loaded topic! Here in the US we’re told there are many causes for obesity- poor lifestyle/eating habits, medical issues, and even poverty- the fact that it’s so much cheaper to buy fattening low quality food- there are just so many complications in the topic. But I do think that much money is better spent in other sectors and perhaps more companies should start offering more benefits/incentives for their employees to get healthy


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