Saturday, January 01, 2005

A Simple Cure for Obesity

I found this on Medscape:
How can we stop the obese from becoming more obese? Pretty simple. Stop feeding them. Think about the other common self-destructive human behaviors. On a commercial airplane, in a saloon, or at a professional sports event, if the customer is deemed to be drunk, the keepers of the booze key will lock the cabinet. If a person drives a car at a dangerous speed, the driver is subject to substantial penalties. For young persons known to be at high risk for early chemical addictions, society tries to prevent exposure to the addicting drugs. Overeating with underexercising is now killing more Americans than anything else except tobacco addiction. Yet, an obese person enters an eating joint, or a supermarket, and buys and eats any and everything he or she wants, and nobody seems to care. Does that make any sense to you? Meanwhile, Big Science strives to understand why people get fat; Big Genetics searches for the obesity gene so that stem cells could correct the flaw; Big Surgery lines up the morbidly obese to shunt their stomachs; Big Pharma seeks the next weight-loss pill that will help more people than it kills; Big Nutrition hawks the newest sure-thing, weight-loss diet; Big Fast Food pushes "healthy food" lines right next to their billion dollar unhealthy food lines; Big Soda and Big School Boards share the profit from drowning kids with calories from vending machines; and Big Exercise pushes group rates for aerobics class. Money made by so many special interests. All this while the simple answer is to stop eating; stop feeding the obese until they are no longer obese. Of course, that may be hard to do, and who makes any money that way? Fat chance for this crazy idea to go anywhere. That's my opinion. I'm Dr. George Lundberg, Editor of MedGenMed. Happy Holidays!
Readers are encouraged to respond for the editor's eye only or for consideration for publication via email:
glundberg@webmd.net.

George D. Lundberg, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Medscape General Medicine
Disclosure: George D. Lundberg, MD, is an employee of WebMD.
Medscape General Medicine 6(4), 2004. © 2004 Medscape

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This is a pretty simplistic solution- an alcoholic can avoid alcohol but an obese person can not avoid food- some food is necessary for survival.
On the other hand, we have several 600+ pound patients at our sleep lab who are unable to leave their houses except with the assistance of an ambulance. Yet they manage to obtain and consume buckets of fried chicken and bottles of cola. Someone (usually a relative) is bringing the extremely obese person unhealthy food in these cases.
There aren't any easy solutions to the obesity epidemic, though I have seen good results with bariatric ("stomach stapling") surgery. I have also seen bariatric patients develop wound problems requiring prolonged hospital stays (6+ months) and sometimes leading to death.

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