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With the New Year approaching, people are reflecting on the past 12 months and looking forward to the next. As in years past, weight loss will top the list of resolutions for many Americans. Nearly a third of Americans resolved to lose weight in 2015 with another 37 percent committing to stay fit and healthy.
For some people, weight loss does not mean wanting to lose 5 pounds—it is a medical necessity. Weight loss resolutions that are destined to fail after the first month are not an option. Many of these people could increase their odds of success by seeking out expert assistance.
Growing support for medical weight loss
Recently, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association endorsed weight loss surgery as a means of improving the health of obese patients. This adds to existing support from other groups, including the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons.
The recent increase in support for bariatric surgery is the result of an increased level of understanding about obesity and the dangers it presents. According to Dr. Catherine Beck of the Utah Center for Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, "Adults with severe obesity are at risk for other serious health issues such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers." This growing list of dangerous medical problems has caused many physicians and patients to evaluate the risks of obesity.
For most patients, the health risks associated with obesity outweigh any potential risks of weight loss surgery. Research has shown that patients who undergo weight loss surgery can live longer that an obese patient who does not have surgery. Weight loss surgery is now as safe as having your gallbladder removed.
Resolving to lose weight
Physicians and their patients have long realized that obesity is accompanied by a long list of health concerns. For people in the "overweight" weight range, those weight loss goals can be achieved by eating healthy foods, controlling portion sizes, and engaging in regular physical exercise.
However, many patients in the "obese" weight range, with a body mass index greater than 30, will find that the traditional methods for achieving weight loss are insufficient or altogether ineffective. Due to genetic and metabolic factors, some people's bodies do not respond to diet and exercise in ways that allow for significant, sustained weight loss. Lifestyle factors—including demanding work and family schedules—can also make it very difficult for severely obese patients to lose weight by traditional means. These individuals may be good candidates for bariatric or weight loss surgery.
Of course, weight loss surgery isn't right for everyone. All patients considering bariatric surgery should consult with a qualified physician and should undergo a thorough evaluation. Many credible weight loss experts will provide a free initial consultation to determine whether or not a patient is a good candidate for surgical intervention.
As the New Year approaches, many Americans will be thinking about weight loss. If you, or someone you know, are making a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, talk to a medical weight loss specialist, or you primary care provider. Working with a bariatric surgeon may be a worthy, life-changing goal for the New Year for you and your family.