There has been much noise in the media recently as the Government considers providing bariatric surgery (gastric by-pass and gastric band operations) to people with Type 2 Diabetes. Let’s look at some of the facts and figures, shall we? First, definitions. Body Mass Index is defined as weight divided by height squared, or kg / m2. Originally devised by a Belgian mathematician almost 200 years ago as a social study into average body build, it has come to be adopted as the medical industry norm. The scale has changed over time, the current settings being as follows: Below 18.5 possibly underweight 18.5 – 24.9 healthy 25.0 – 29.9 overweight 30.0 – 34.9 obese 35.0 – 39.9 very obese 40.0 and over morbidly obese While I feel there should be a better way of measuring obesity (see my separate post on BMI), there is no escaping the fact that far too many people today are seriously overweight and this is impacting their health in many ways. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence tells us that –
- 25% of adults in England are obese (ie have a BMI of 30 or more) – that’s 1 in every 4 adults.
- A BMI of 30 – 35 (obese) cuts life expectancy by up to four years.
- A BMI of 40 or more (morbidly obese) cuts life expectancy by up to ten years.
- Obesity costs the NHS some £5.1 billion every year.
The people at NICE say that very low-calorie diets (less than 800 calories a day) can be used in the short term to prepare people for surgery or to meet criteria for fertility treatment, but admits that while diets are increasingly popular, they do not keep weight off in the long term. NICE guidance states that “regaining weight is likely” but that this is not down to the failure of either the client or the clinician. We have reached the stage where around 8,000 people a year are currently receiving bariatric surgery on the NHS – let’s have a look at a few other facts & figures about that too. One person in 200 who has a gastric band fitted will die as a result of the operation. If you think that’s bad, the figure for death following gastric by-pass is just one person in 100. Such operations can result in dramatic weight reduction – often up to 1/3 or even 1/2 of body weight prior to surgery – and this can create another problem in the (not very attractive) shape of folds of excess flabby skin that often needs further surgery to remove it. I work a lot with people who are would be defined as overweight or various stages of obese. Rather than berating them for eating too much or not doing enough exercise, I work from the inside out, focusing instead on the underlying emotional reasons why they are holding onto excess weight. This can be traced back to any number of reasons – abuse or bullying as a child; rejection or pain in a relationship; a past life when the client starved to death; or even a spirit “passenger” with a sweet tooth. If, having resolved these issues, the client still feels that he or she needs “belt and braces” reassurance, then I will “fit” a hypnotic gastric band. The procedure is totally non-invasive, and does not carry any of the risks of actual surgery. And of course it means that, having dealt with the real root causes, the client can move on with his or her life, whereas with conventional surgery, if those underlying reasons have not been dealt with, the operation “won’t work”; the client will find ways around. It is also far less expensive. The NHS puts the cost of bariatric surgery at anywhere between £3,000 and £5,000. A private hospital close to me is currently charging £6,145 for a gastric band operation. I charge £395.00 – yes, that is just under £400. Just think how much that could save the NHS! My number is 07597 020 512 – feel free to call me if you would like to know more.