Harsh News on Weight Loss

Just incase New Years weight loss attempts hadn't already depressed you.

By BROOKES MERRITT (external - login to view), SUN MEDIA

The fattest of the fat have three options when it comes to their waistlines: have bariatric surgery, become a lifelong calorie counter and fitness freak, or do nothing - in which case complications from obesity could eventually kill them.
In a nutshell that's what Canada's top obesity expert - now based in Edmonton - told local health practitioners yesterday while discussing the obesity epidemic.
A blunt man, Dr. Arya Sharma's message was made clear in the first slide in his hour-long presentation.
The image was of a tiny mortician standing beside a massive coffin, the oversized kind funeral parlours are selling more often these days.

"There is no cure for obesity. Once you get it you're obese for life. It's a chronic disease ... that affects about 50% of Edmontonians and 25% of kids in Alberta," said Sharma, chair of obesity research with the University of Alberta and the scientific director of the Canadian Obesity Network.
A person is considered obese with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
Bariatric surgery - which limits the amount of food that can be stuffed into the gullet - is the most effective way of reducing weight but Sharma said long-term treatments must also incorporate lifestyle change.
"The results of bariatric surgery today are spectacular. It's a 60-minute outpatient procedure that's been shown to reduce mortality rates by 30%, cure sleep apnea in 86% of patients and cure diabetes in 80% of patients."
Sharma said it's the lifestyle change most obese people have difficulty with.
"Whether they exercise ridiculous amounts or count calories for the rest of their life, only one in 20 people can keep the weight off for very long."
In Canada, morbid obesity rates have shot up 400% since 1984, but North America isn't the only population struggling with the obesity epidemic.
"No health system in the world is meeting the challenge of managing obesity," Sharma said.
Dr. Gerry Predy, Capital Health's medical officer of health, said that's in large part due to the growing number of people eating poor quality calories, like fast foods made with cheap sugars.
"An element of obesity is genetic but the epidemic is the most likely being driven by cultural attitudes towards food," said Predy.
Sharma agreed, calling obesity genes a "loaded gun" waiting to be fired.
"Our environment is pulling the trigger. We will ultimately need policy and government to intervene, as they have with smoking," he said.
On a rare positive note, Sharma said programs like Weight Watchers can work if people commit to them for life.
"Long-term success rates for programs like that are between 2.5% and 3%. The key is to treat the disease for the rest of a person's life, so if Weight Watchers works for you - buy a lifetime membership."
He said most patients who get liposuction eventually regain weight and that the cosmetic treatment removes "good fat" from beneath the skin.
"It doesn't target the problem fat inside you, surrounding the organs. That's the bad fat."
People interested in weight loss are encouraged to visit capitalhealth.ca/weightwise (external - login to view) to learn more about healthy living.
- Bariatric surgery works for weight loss, and can also cure hypertension, sleep apnea, diabetes and lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Gastric bypass surgery decreases mortality rates by 4%.
- Only 3% of Weight Watchers' clients maintain weight loss two years after stopping the program.
- Low-calorie and low-carb diets have the highest probability of later weight gain.
- Starving the body creates more powerful cravings, which can lead to binge eating.
- The most successful weight losers count calories, eat small portions often and weigh themselves once a week.
- The most successful weight losers maintain their loss by consuming less than 50% of recommended daily caloric intake, forever.
yup.. that is depressing...

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