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Body shapes and gastric bands

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Anne Diamond | 15:13 UK time, Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Vanessa Feltz at the 2006 TV BaftasWeight loss is very much in the news again as everyone in the celebrity world seems to be talking about Vanessa Feltz having a gastric band op and Lesley Garrett confessing she'd like to reduce her bust! So you can probably imagine how busy my phone has been with TV and radio stations asking me to comment.

I must confess, it's a wonderful feeling thinking that I have all of that angst behind me! But it's a sobering thought how very big an issue it is, and how many people are obsessed and often distressed by their own body shape. I've just recorded, yesterday, a new video for the charity Body Gossip, which campaigns for greater understanding of weight issues.

I'm away from BBC Radio Berkshire this week, so the programme is being hosted by Sarah Walker, who writes:

Funny that gastric bands should be back in the news. Only yesterday we were debating if gastric band surgery is one of the many treatments the NHS should start refusing in a bid to keep costs down. This prompted a very compelling call from Jan in Beenham. She told me that her free gastric band surgery changed her life - allowing her to lose almost 23 stone. Jan feels that overeating is an illness within its own right and those who struggle to control their intake should never simply be viewed as greedy. Her story was a real eye-opener and a reminder that these debates are never straightforward.

Talking of complex, I was joined in the studio today by Sue Bourne, headteacher of The Avenue special school in Reading. She faces a unique set of challenges on a daily basis in her role. Some of her pupils have life-limiting conditions, and last year the school tragically lost four of its pupils. When I met her last August, Sue told me the story of one of her youngsters who shortly afterwards, had poignantly asked her if he would be next. Sadly, he went on to lose his life earlier this year. It's a very special person who can not only come to terms with something like that, but lead a school through such trying circumstances. I have the utmost respect for Sue, her staff, pupils and that very brave young man.


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