Gastric Bypass - The Response To A Man-made Problem
The gastric bypass has become the solution of choice for many when it comes to solving the problem of obesity but this is simply one solution to a man-made problem that would perhaps better be solved in other ways.
Obesity is as old as time itself and for many obesity is caused by genetic or medical problems. In today's world, however, the alarming increase in the rate of obesity is very much a man-made problem, aided in part by the availability, and popularity, of the gastric bypass.
Surgical advances, not least the introduction of laparoscopic procedures, have made the gastric bypass a much simpler and more acceptable solution to the problem of obesity. As if this were not enough, the profile of the gastric bypass has been raised substantially in recent years helped along in no small way by the number of well known people choosing this form of weight loss.
The list of well known personalities taking this route is long and includes the music promoter and TV personality Sharon Osbourne, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand David Lange, the footballer Diego Maradona and the rock singer Randy Jackson to name just a few.
But just why is obesity growing and is it truly a problem of our own making?
Though there was a slight rise in the rate of obesity following the Second World War, the last twenty five years have seen a substantial growth in obesity, particularly in north America. The precise reason for this is unknown and there is reasonably wide disagreement over the cause, but here are just a few reasons over which there is general agreement.
1. Notwithstanding the present discussion over oil prices, the motor car is no longer thought of as a luxury and the two car family is becoming commonplace. We do not think twice now about getting into the car for even the shortest of journeys and many people would not even contemplate walking to the shop at the end of the street.
2. We are far less active preferring to watch our favorite sport as an alternative to getting out and playing the game ourselves and this is especially true for people who are overweight. maybe more interestingly, if you decrease the calorie intake for people who are overweight they do not become more active and if you raise the calorie intake for slim people they do not become less active. Weight loss, or gain, does not affect a person's level of activity, but that person's level of activity does affect his or her weight.
3. Marketing today is very sophisticated, if not subliminal, and this is especially true in the area of fast and convenience foods. In addition, a number of restrictions were removed on advertisements aimed at children during the Reagan years and many of these restrictions covered such things as fast food and sweets.
4. Various trade subsidies negotiated over the past twenty five years have substantially reduced the relative cost of food items, not least that of sugar and sugar syrup. In turn this means that we are now consuming a lot more than we previously did.
5. Today we are a nation of two income households which means that people are now cooking far less at home. The number of people eating in restaurants, opting for take out fast food or choosing home delivery meals has grown dramatically in recent years.
6. Strangest of all perhaps is the effect that the craze for diet and exercise has had on the increase in obesity. As a society we have become obsessed with dieting and many people diet as frequently as they change their underwear. However it's a fact that most diets fail and, after a diet, it is not uncommon for your weight to rise to a level even higher than it was before you started. This pattern of rising and falling weight over time tend to results in a gradual underlying increase in weight towards obesity.
Each of the factors noted here not only add to the increase in obesity but is also clearly made-made.
Now certainly gastric bypass provides one solution. Nevertheless, even though the procedure is much simpler than it used to be and is growing in popularity, it is still far from a pleasant experience and is certainly not risk free.
For those people who are obese today gastric bypass offers an excellent solution to their problem. For our children and grandchildren however perhaps the answer lies in preventing obesity rather than sitting back and waiting for the problem to arrive before resorting to gastric bypass surgery.
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