Opinion – Obese people deserve surgical treatment, too | Richard Welbourn | Opinion | The Guardian

This Guardian article by bariatric surgeon, Richard Welbourn is full of contradictions. He argues that we should stop judging Britain’s obese people and start treating them surgically, as our European counterparts do.

Source: Obese people deserve surgical treatment, too | Richard Welbourn | Opinion | The Guardian

Welbourn argument highlights different causes of obesity. At one extreme, he suggests:

For severely obese people, the hormonal effects of being obese mean that medical therapies, lifestyle changes and attempts at dieting rarely succeed in maintaining long-term, clinically beneficial weight loss.

But on the other hand, he argues:

The World Health Organisation identifies obesity as a chronic disease. But on the other side we have the popular perception – shared by some healthcare professionals – that it is purely a lifestyle choice. This totally disregards the fact that, driven by powerful food industry advertising, it is those who are poor who are most affected.

Reality is more complex. We can imagine a continuum of triggers for obesity, ranging from hormonal effects from birth to lifestyle choices of junk-food and laziness. Whilst, there’s a strong case for those with hormonal defects, the case for the other end of the continuum is less robust as many clinicians know – for many of these people obesity is a lifestyle choice.

In a world of severely rationed healthcare, surely improving cancer outcomes takes precedence over bariatric surgery for the obesity driven by lifestyle choice? Surely, governments have better options to tax junk food and promote healthcare?



Read original – Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life | EurekAlert! Science News

Read the original in a highly cited new study has showing that regularly walking a dog boosts levels of physical activity in older people, especially during the winter. Researchers found that owning or walking a dog was one of the most effective ways to beat the usual decline in later-life activity, even combatting the effects of bad weather. Dog owners were sedentary for 30 minutes less per day, on average.

Source: Dog walking could be key to ensuring activity in later life | EurekAlert! Science News

Whilst the results are intuitive, the study adds value in supporting the need for adults, especially older people, to get more excercize. However, this is only part of the story. It needs to be combined with a healthy diet and weight control, especially avoidance of obesity. Another factor is moderate consumption of alcohol. Additionally, in North America, the primary cause of death for the under fifties is now drug abuse, particularly opioids. If addicts can’t look after themselves, surely they should be excluded from having pets?

Regretably, too many families don’t give their dogs enough excercize – they’re too lazy or selfish to be dog owners really – they just want to dog’s affection or to put photos on facebook. Also the dog walking seems to go to the same family member, if at all. Why not have quality family time with the whole family and the dog?

It’s a shame that the mainstream media that’s citing this new resaerch are not putting in in a proper context.