The news today is once again filled with stories about obesity. Not just any standard obesity, but super obesity.
According to an article in The Sun, 110,000 super obese drain the NHS of £450million per year and the bill for treating them is running at over THREE TIMES that for a normal-sized patient.
Obesity specialist Professor Tony Leeds said the NHS is underestimating the burden as super obese patients have a range of illnesses such as heart disease, joint problems and diabetes. Not all of them seek NHS treatment — but those who do cost at least £6,100 each. The NHS currently spends £4 billion a year on treating obesity and it is predicted that Britain’s obesity epidemic will cost the NHS and the economy £60bn annually by 2050.
Professor Leeds estimates 11 million people in England have a BMI of 30 and above, giving them some degree of obesity.
Super Obesity – Body Mass Index (BMI)
A person is super obese if their Body Mass Index is over 50, compared to a healthy 20. Georgia Davis, the teenager who had to be smashed out of her house, weighed 63st and a BMI of 142.3.
Professor Leeds, of London’s Whittington Hospital, will today address a special obesity meeting in Parliament and warn: “As weight increases, so does the associated expenditure.”
Drastic Action – Gastric Bypass / Gastric Band
Watching an article about super obesity on the BBC news this morning I was horified to hear a doctor being interviewed about the problem saying that gastric surgery was the only option. Surely there has to be a better way!
Stomach-shrinking surgery is becoming increasingly popular. Last year, 8,241 fat-busting procedures were carried out — up 1,000 on 2010. Almost half were on the most socially deprived groups. To qualify for this treatment on the NHS you must have a body mass index of 40, or between 35 and 40 and also have type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Surgery is said to be the cheaper alternative in the long run and, last month, Scottish doctors said that unless more gastric ops were performed, the NHS would be bankrupted by the costs of diabetes and obesity care.
A series of gastric ops are available. A band op costs £6,000, a bypass £11,000, a balloon £4,000 and a sleeve £10,000.
More than 1,094 ops were performed on the poorest ten per cent of Brits last year — and a further 2,391 on the most deprived 30 per cent. In contrast, only 405 people in the richest ten per cent had NHS ops.
Too Fat to Leave Home
At least 200 Brits are currently thought to be too fat to leave home. Firemen had to demolish part of a house in South Wales last month to rescue 63 stone Georgia Davis, 19, after she was taken ill.
As Jamie Oliver said in his TED speech, “Diet related disease is the biggest killer, right now, today.” Surely the best solution to the obesity epidemic is education about the unhealthy processed food-like products that so much of the population is eating on a daily basis.
Phil Staples from the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead lost nearly half of his body weight (202 lbs) in just 10 months by changing his diet and taking some exercise. I know some people feel that juicing and changing to a plant based diet is extreme, but surely it is less extreme that gastric surgery. Less extreme and a lot cheaper too.
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Year Without Beer
I am doing the Great South Run for me (and in memory of my Dad) and am not looking for any sponsorship for this event. If you want to show some love them please donate to my year without beer and give your support to one of these fantastic causes:
- To donate to Cancer Research UK please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB66 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB66 £5″ will donate £5.
- To donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust please click here to visit my just giving page or donate by text – send AYWB55 and the amount to 70070. For example, texting “AYWB55 £5″ will donate £5.