The Governmental Obesity Treatments Paper (Pt 2)

Part 2.

The paper continues….

According to the UK national Bariatric Surgery Registry in 2013/2014, the NHS performed 5,756 surgical procedures for weight-loss. This figure may sound a high one but is in reality less than 1% of the patients who qualify for surgery (qualification is dictated by BMI of over 40) I am sure you must agree that this is a pretty poor show when you consider that these are LIFE saving procedures…

By comparison, Sweden which has much lower levels of Obesity than here in the UK, performed six times as many operations (admittedly per 100,000 people) which is a shockingly poor statistic for the UK, yet still a randomised controlled trial to assess the clinical outcomes and cost – effectiveness of these procedures is still ongoing which is utterly unacceptable when you consider the only alternative in some cases is death.

Here in the UK, the average BMI of a patient treated on the NHS is 50.6. I myself was 46.4 at the time of my operation although at my heaviest of 159kgs I was 51.9. Thankfully just three months on from the surgery I am down to 39.3, feeling better, healthier with a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure and general all round wellness. The average patients BMI of 50.6 is one of the highest in Europe and although 87% of these patients are between 26 and 60 years old, only 3% are below 25 years old. Only a quarter of patients actually undergoing the procedure are male (although according to the Bariatric Registry this is actually rising) and the range of health issues seen in patients presenting for weight loss surgery is increasing with an average of 3.6 conditions per patient.

  1.  Over 70% having poor functional status (cannot climb three flights of stairs without resting)
  2. 55% having arthritis (may require joint replacements)
  3. 40% having high blood pressure
  4. 30% having type 2 diabetes
  5. 25% having depression.

These conditions are real issues for patients, affecting the quality of their life and their ability to function. I suffered myself from three of these issues and although I am better since surgery, I know I have a long way to go before I am anywhere near considered “repaired”.

It is almost utterly ridiculous to consider all of the previous statics are not making a better argument for weight loss surgery because on average, 3 years after surgery patients lose 60% of their excess weight. Of patients who could no longer climb more than three flights of stairs, over 60% of them can do just that one year after surgery. The surgery as we know also removes a great deal of the Ghrelin (hunger) hormones which can attribute to weight regain after the procedure and this is backed up by the fact a further study following patients 20 years after surgery showed that weight loss surgery is well maintained and life is extended.

Again we must ask the question WHY?

Why do we need a Parliamentary paper to be written on the subject trying to promote what is a life saving and life extending procedure. Is it not the right of every human to be offered the chance to live longer and better? I would have thought that was the basic premise of any health service, national or not. The paper even goes on to extol the financial benefits of the procedure stating that direct healthcare costs attributable to overweight and obesity have been estimated at £5.1 billion per year. Also that lost productivity due to unemployment, absenteeism, benefit payments etc all add up to economic loses of over £50 billion or 3% GDP.

It has been suggested that non surgical intervention if correctly followed will save the NHS approximately £230 over a lifetime but this pales to insignificance when compared to the more expensive surgical procedures. For example one year after surgery 60% of patients with diabetes are no longer diabetic and after three years this can increase to nearly 80% so the cost of the surgery is saved on diabetes medication alone within 2-3 years. In a separate study, 14 months after surgery, paid hours worked increased by 57% and benefit claims fell by 75%. Here’s the crazy part, if you were to extrapolate this out to just 25% of the eligible weight loss surgery patients, GDP would increase by £1.3 billion and there would be a saving of over £150 million in benefit payments.

So what are we waiting for?

Simple maths tells us it is the most sensible way to deal with the issue yet the bean counters still mess around and cut WLS funding left, right and centre.

All of the above is almost despair forming news but what we should really be counting on is a system where this is not allowed to happen again and measures need to be put in place to insure that this epidemic is remedied. Obviously education is one area that it could be addressed. Children can be fed properly at breakfast clubs, healthy dinners can be produced for lunches, school sports can be made more competitive once again and basic cookery classes can be made mandatory so children understand from an early age just exactly what is in the foods they eat.

We also need to move away from anything that “normalises” overweight. Certainly there should be no stigma attached to weight problems and the world must remain able to choose how it lives its life but the word obese really does need to be made to hit home as hard as the disease it honestly is without placing too much responsibility of any organisation and making the individual responsible for his or her actions. Like I have said all along my WLS was not a magic wand, there have been many hard steps to get to where I am now from the mess I was in before but at least there is a support system in place that can. Being fat is not something I ever wanted and we must understand that this is usually the case for most obese people and there honestly can be external factors at work in the shape of medication, internal biology at work in the case of rare disorder and genetic issues that affect appetite and behaviour.

At the end of the day, obesity requires a long-term and large-scale commitment across all government departments, research sectors, civil authorities and major businesses. If we all work together, it can be sorted and more people can be free and live happier and healthier lives because of it.

FOOD DIARY: Thursday 18th June 2015

Qty Measure Food Calories (gr) Protein (gr) Carbs (gr) Fat (gr)
Breakfast  1  Large  Poached Egg  82  7.8  0  5.7
 1  Medium  Lean Sausage  111  10  4  8
 2  Small Lean Smoked Bacon Rashers  280  32  0  20
Lunch  1 Small Bowl Hot Thai Prawn Noodle Salad  130  22  27  0.3
Dinner  1  150gms Spicy Mediterranean Chicken  172  35.5  1.2  12.7
 1  80gms  Lemongrass and Chilli Rice  72  1.3  14  2
Snacks  1  175mls  Protein Diet Whey  91  17  2.75  1.4
 1  500mls  Tea  26  0  6  0
 1/2  Bar  Almond Coconut Bar  196  4.1  2  18
Totals  1160  129.7  56.95  68.1
Water  2  500mls  Mineral Water  0  0  0  0

Food wise it was all a bit standard really, high protein and low carb because of the lack of exercise. Portions were family ordinary size and straight forward foods with regular calories were eaten.

I was heading back to the Gym yesterday after my days rest but to be honest although I felt okay on the whole and am pretty happy with my energy levels, I decided that a second day’s rest would be just as beneficial to my training as a session in the gym allowing me to rest my body a bit longer, so with that in mind I had a nice relaxing day with the dog, made some videos for You Tube, wrote some more of my novel and of course did some blogging!

With no screenshots of Map My Walk to post we can get straight on with the Jawbone one. I wasn’t actually going to post this one either but the fact that I ended up walking further than I thought, it seemed a waste not to share it.


Anyway, back to business today so lots to report tomorrow…!

‘Till tomorrow,

Stay out of the fridge.

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