Radical Reduction

I read an interesting article written by Amanda Schaffer entitled, “Radical Reduction: the benefits of stomach stapling for teenagers.” I encourage you to read the entire article but I want to review some of the highlights and make some clinical points that are hopefully helpful to you.

“A study of more than 100,000 women, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that those who were overweight at age 18 were more likely to die prematurely in middle age.”

How sad to look around and realize that obesity is affecting people at younger and younger ages.  Now we see they are more likely to die prematurely, never able to enjoy a truly satisfying life.  Not to mention the negative health effects and suffering they encountered due to their obesity-related diseases.

“…research published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationshowed that people who develop type 2 diabetes—a condition associated with obesity—before the age of 20, as opposed to later, are at greater risk of end-stage kidney disease and death before the age of 55.”

I have seen estimates of $21,000/month being the cost of dialysis.  That’s $252,000 each year!  I don’t know about you, but I can think of much better things I’d rather do with that much money.  Oh, but I can hear the rebuttals now, “But my insurance pays for a lot of it.”  Really?  Your monthly insurance premiums are on the rise, your out-of-pocket expenses keep going up and really, do you want to live a life hanging on the edge having dialysis every day?  I don’t.

But never fear, we have options for those that are obese…we will staple their stomachs so they can’t eat too much at all.  Forget the fact that greater than 40% of young people that receive gastric bypass surgery face complications such as intestinal leakage, bowel obstruction, and nutritional deficiencies.

“The potential for deficiencies means that patients must adhere to strict guidelines. All patients must eat more lean, high-quality protein; exercise; and take vitamins and minerals for the rest of their lives. Teenage girls must take additional calcium and iron.”

Now this statement really got my attention.  One of the most oft complaints I hear is, “Do I have to keep taking these pills?”  Well, let’s face it, you are going to be taking pills for the rest of your life for something.  You can poison your body with the plethora of pharmaceuticals and unknown drug-drug interactions, or you can promote health and healing in your body.  But this statement is confounding.  Why weren’t these young people given strict dietary guidelines, given good high-quality protein (hello medical foods!), daily exercise program and good multiple vitamin/minerals before their bodies were cut on and their stomach stapled?

Moral of the story?  Start taking care of you and your family now!  If you see your children are getting a little hefty and their entire day consists of couch time with Nintendo and a good supper is when there is extra cheese on the hot dog…then make some changes!  The best thing you could do for your children is to give them an opportunity to not die prematurely in middle age.  Start small, but start now!

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