More than 2 billion adults and children globally are overweight or obese and suffer health problems because of their weight, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Unfortunately, it confirmed what we knew statistically,” said Edward Cussatti, MD, FACS, FASMBS, Chief of Bariatric Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center. “It brought up some new things, but unfortunately we know that obesity is an epidemic, not just in this country, but throughout the world.”
These staggering numbers mean one-third of the world’s population is carrying excess weight which, based on the study, is due to urbanization, poor diets and reduced physical activity.
And it’s not just those classified as obese.
The study concluded that out of the 4 million people who died due to complications of extreme weight gain, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, 40% were classified as overweight, not obese.
Body mass index (BMI) is the ratio between a person’s weight and height. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while anything over 30 is obese.
Specifically the United States has the greatest percentage of obese children and young adults at 13%. This result occurs despite concentrated efforts worldwide to curb obesity at a young age.
“From a societal perspective, there have been different campaigns in terms of limiting exposure to high density foods, particularly with kids trying to get ahead of obesity,” said Dr. Cussatti. “Unfortunately there is no 'magic bullet' you can use to stop obesity.”
At Good Samaritan, the Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program has been recognized by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery as an accredited center. Additionally, Good Sam is planning to offer a medical weight loss program as alternative method for patients seeking weight loss assistance.
Although Dr. Cussatti notes, “the only proven long-term way to combat obesity is through surgical weight loss,” he emphasizes that a varied approach is required to attack the issue through multiple angles.
“It’s not just a diet and not just an exercise regimen. It also involves changing behaviors and having a willingness to change some patterns of behavior that have led to obesity.”
If you would like more information on the Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program at Good Samaritan, please call (631) 376-4444 or visit www.goodsambariatricsurgery.org.