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Should obesity surgery be offered more widely on the NHS?

06:28 UK time, Friday, 27 August 2010

The number of people in England undergoing NHS surgery to help them lose weight has risen tenfold in less than a decade, reports the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Is surgery the answer to long-term weight loss?

The BMJ stated that operations such as gastric banding and bypasses rose from 238 a year to more than 2,543 in 2007. Researchers from Imperial College London said more obese patients are becoming aware that surgery could be an effective option.

But the Office of Health Economics says more people are eligible for treatment, and £1.3bn could be saved over three years if a quarter of eligible patients got treatment.

Have you gone under the knife to lose weight? What other methods have you tried to lose the pounds? Should surgery be limited to the morbidly obese? Should these operations be financed by the NHS? Would more operations save the NHS money?

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Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Either that or accept mass obesity.
    Fast-food, growth-hormones... it's a clue Shaggy! What is more mysterious is why no serious look at the source.

  • Comment number 2.

    I do not think the NHS should pay for these operations unless there are specific medical reasons... not just because someone does not have the willpower to exercise more and eat less. To me it is all about mindset and self respect. Being of a large size myself, I know what I need to do. (and yes, eating less and exercising more is working well). Operations do not change a mind. For me, these operations are all about a quick fix with no responsibility taken by the person themselves. What a society we have created!

  • Comment number 3.

    I'd recommend the Daily Telegraph diet. Move more and eat less. Hopefully that's not too complex.

  • Comment number 4.

    Perhaps a diet sheet would be a better option? Very few of these fat people have any 'issues' apart from eating to much and being lazy. If they want to sit on their backsides all day eating big macs then so be it, I have no problem with that, but I do have a bit of a problem with them taking up so much NHS resources on a condition that is self inflicted and could very easily be solved.

    I'm afraid good food being more expensive simply doesn't wash, the real reason is how much easier it is to order a takeaway to your door than buckle down and cook something which will probably cost half as much. If this is the case, and I suspect it is in the vast majority of patients, then no operation.

  • Comment number 5.

    Should obesity surgery be offered more widely on the NHS? First reaction is to agree, as medical care should not really be conditional, but given on the basis of need, even if the problem has been self inflicted. However, it would be nice to know that people have made genuine efforts to deal with their obesity themselves before having to go to such extremes. Easy for me to say, as I am still the same weight as when I left school, umpty odd decades ago. A skinny rabbit then, and just as much a skinny rabbit now. On the other hand, the family diet comes largely from food we grow ourselves, and looking after a large garden certainly gives a great deal of exercise, enough to keep muscles in trim and fat at bay. Not an option for everyone, I know, but there are other alternatives. Perhaps we had better leave this one to the medical profession.

  • Comment number 6.

    Purely on a cost basis the answer must be yes £6000 on a gastric band now save thousands in later life plus more productivity less time off work also they are less likely to over feed their children helping to make sure future generations do not have the same problems I would imagine the £6000 would be save in blood pressure tablets never mind those who will develop diabetes 2 we should also remember that obesety can be an obsession with food an addiction and should be treated as such
    and we should not knock those less fortunate than ourselves

  • Comment number 7.

    No surgery - the most minor surgery - is completely safe. It is an apparently easy option if you don't/can no longer exercise/don't change eating habits.

    I am a very healthy weight and size, have been the same size for over 30 years. But if I write down everything I eat every day, it does give me a shock, the biscuit snacks, the bar of chocolate. I wonder just how honest people are when they gain weight which they then say they are unable to shed?

    I have listened to someone complaining about the fact that they were fat as they tucked into a large burger.

    I realise at times there will be issues with medication or medical problems. But hypochondriac that I am, if I found me weight sppiralling out of control in eiter direction, I should be off to see the doc. And as I hate shopping and I expect my more expensive clothes to last, I should be pretty annoyed if I had to get rid of them when they had had little wear.

    But as some obese people do manage to lose weight very successfully, it is clearly possible.

  • Comment number 8.

    The cost of surgery to lose weight will be way cheaper than treating the weight related illnesses of heart disease, diabetes etc etc.

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes, bariatric surgery should be available on the NHS.
    There is a clear correlation between obesity and life expectancy, and morbid obesity is associated with a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obstructive sleep apnoea, osteoarthritis, a number of malignant diseases and depressive illness.
    It's facile, to consider obesity a mere lifestyle problem, but then so is the incidence of malignant melanoma in sun-worshippers, or smoking and alcohol-related disease, but no one would suggest that NHS treatment should be witheld, because these disorders involve personal choice.

  • Comment number 10.

    Yes, obesity surgery should be available on the NHS.

    When a person presents to the NHS with an injury or illness they should be treated regardless of what the injury or illness is and regardless of any (largely mistaken) interpretations about whether or not it is 'self-inflicted'.

    If you start down the road of trying to establish who are 'worthy' patients before treating them we'll end up with a discriminatory NHS (if someone doesn't look both ways before crossing the road and gets hit by a car, is that a result of their own stupidity? Is it self-infilcted? Are stupid people 'worthy' of treatment when they might just do the same thing again? Etc.).

    Everyone who pays national insurance is entitled to full NHS coverage. If the NHS is not going to treat them the government should refund theit NI contributions.

    Where savings can be made is through earlier intevention by GPs. There should be plenty help and advice when patients are starting to become obese - try to treat them before it becomes a hospital situation.

    I certainly don't agree with surgery for cosmetic reasons (driven purely by vanity, as opposed to cosmetic surgery for disfigured people, which I do agree with) and I don't agree with IVF on the NHS (you will not die if you don't have a kid) - if you want these things you should pay for them - but where a genuine illness or injury is presented, treatment should be provided.

  • Comment number 11.

    Just returned from a great holiday in California and the differences between them and us are plain to see, and I don't mean the weather! The UK does have a serious obesity problem.
    If I were obese I would not want the NHS to operate on me for one good reason, there is no legal obligation on them to repair any damage they cause if it all goes wrong. It's like buying a huge TV, it stops working after a year and the manufacturer saying it's not my problem take it to the skip.
    I agree with CoachAP comment 2, it's all about attitude, the mindset, but not about being sporty. Ask the supermarkets, fast food manufacturers and restaurants to advertise and sell less fattening food. The NHS is the last resort, good at chopping things off when they go wrong, but we need a long term sustainable plan. Other countries have that, copy them.

  • Comment number 12.

    Only in extreme cases. Much more important are significant changes to lifestyle and that subject that is constantly avoided - additives early in the food chain, particularly in animal feeds.

    While people have become more sedentary, it can be no coincidence that obesity has become a much larger problem (pun intended) since growth hormones, etc. have been introduced into animal feeds. The claim that these don't enter the food chain is something that must be examined very rigorously by independent authorities.

  • Comment number 13.

    Ahh,

    I remember when i first realised that Britain had an obesity problem.

    That was the day that I saw anti thigh-chafing lubricant being advertised on national commercial television.

    Should obesity surgery be offered more widely on the NHS?

    Why not?

    Fat people pay taxes too.

    Although I'd rather see the dietry aproach tried first.

    And you'd need to limit it to one such sugery a lifetime, otherwise the worst cases would have no incentive to keep the weight off.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm about 2 stone overweight, so technically I'm obese even though I'm 6'2". I wouldn't even contemplate going to have one of these operations on the NHS as it places an unnecessary financial burden on it. Should I have the desire to lose weight then I'll diet and exercise more.

  • Comment number 15.

    The NHS has been misused for years in many areas.Prior to the birth of the NHS the obese of this country would receive no free help from anyone bar over indulgent relatives who just kept on feeding them. I have seen at first hand the trouble relatives cause undoing every effort the NHS or Social Services make to help overweight people.As a professional carer I was being undermined on a regular basis by relatives using devious methods to hide the fact that these obese people where seeking help whilst feeding their faces even more.When surgery was offered there was always an excuse. However the huge cost for those actually having the operation was eye watering and didnt always work. You are looking at thousands for surgery for just one person yet other areas of the NHS are starved of cash it simply doesnt make sense. Unless there is a very good reason why you have become obese bar feeding your face then treatment should be limited and Social Service help should also be very limited.In my area there are several people who have got purpose built flats,special beds and equipment just because they are overweight.Someone has to pay for for this and yes you guessed it-its always the tax payer!

  • Comment number 16.

    "11. At 08:06am on 27 Aug 2010, Chrome Bumpers wrote:
    Just returned from a great holiday in California and the differences between them and us are plain to see, and I don't mean the weather! The UK does have a serious obesity problem."


    Try out Florida, and I think you will find they have worse problems!!

  • Comment number 17.

    No, the NHS could save a lot of money by refusing such operations along with stopping such treatment as IVF for those who have chosen to wait too long to have children and many other cases where the patient's lifestyle has resulted in a reduced lifestyle rather than life threatening health problems.

    Obese people will find that reducing consumption of food and exercising more are the real and sustainable solution to their problem. Both of these cost nothing to them nor to the taxpayer.

  • Comment number 18.

    "Should these operations be financed by the NHS?"

    No. The NHS has far too wide a range of services. As a result it's a huge and extremely complex organisation, impossible to run efficiently.

    The NHS should concentrate on treating the sick and injured. Obesity, breast enhancement, fertility treatment, and probably many other 'areas' do not qualify.

    If people want these services, and clinicians want to provide them, then let them go private. Can't afford a gastric band operation? Cut down on your calorie intake (and take more exercise), and save up the money you don't spend on food, so you can afford the op, and with luck you won't need it so you can take a holiday instead.

  • Comment number 19.

    Perhaps much simpler and cheaper surgery could be offered - a few stitches between upper and lower lips, thus restricting food intake!!

  • Comment number 20.

    I remember a tale being told by Stephen Fry regards dieting and being over weight ,

    A man goes to the Doctor and asks him "how can I lose Weight?"
    The Doctor replies " Simple , eat less"

    The man replies I have tried that ,but it does not work!

    The Doctor then opens his desk drawer ,Takes out a photograph of an emanicated Africa male and shows it to the man. then says " Well it seems to work for him !!"

    The above is NOT a joke even when Stephen Fry told the tale ..The simple ans less costly solution is to eat less.

    Ok they might be exceptions that require surgery. but the majority simple eat too much for their body needs. Surely the reduction of intake should be the first port of call ..

  • Comment number 21.

    This is a load of tosh - I just heard that women complaing how fattening Starbucks lattes are - so just don't have one. I'm 50 years old and weigh 0.2kg more than I did at 18. If your fat it means you either eat too much of the wrong food or don't get enough excercise or both.

    I don't care what ailment that someone has, if you put them on a dessert island for a month with nothing to eat but some dried fish and a few grapes I'd be pretty confident that they would lose weight!

    I really object to my tax pounds being spent on people that can't or won't take responsibility for their own actions, or inacation as is more often the case.

    We can't afford to compensate our troops appropriatley but we can afford to carve a few pounds of flab off someone who has self inflicted their condition. Anyway you look at it, that is just plain wrong.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think it should be offered. It has instant results for diabetes and gives the patient a sure start to getting healthy again. As for cost - it is cheaper for the NHS than years of treatment with the patients health getting worse over time. It offers hope for many people who need help.

  • Comment number 23.

    For those who genuinely need it, of course. There really are some people whose obesity is not their fault. For example, some really do have medical conditions, and some have restricted mobility because of injuries.

    However, for the other 99%, the real treatment is eat less, move more.

  • Comment number 24.

    People make themselves fat. We pay the bill. 35,000 pensioners died last year because they could not afford to heat their homes. What a sick society. But when is anyone actually going to do anything about it?

  • Comment number 25.

    Should obesity surgery be offered more widely on the NHS?
    If enough people said "No it should not.", would it change NHS policy in regard to this? Watched a documentary about liver transplants.
    Alcoholics are given them and then carry on drinking themselves to death.There were patients laughing at a consultant because he was telling them to stop drinking.
    The consultant said that he was aware of an attitude in society,that you can abuse your body for years until you get ill, then turn up and say,"I'm here, sort me out." These patients are also doing nothing to change the lifestyles that have made them ill in the first place.
    It seems to me that a broader question about our relationship with the NHS evolves from this topic.What do we expect from the NHS and what should our priorities be? This is where both politics and personal responsibility have a major role to play in health.Maybe it is time for some re-evaluation.Poster 5,Raymond Hopkins has put the case for personal responsibility most eloquently.What about some politics to enable more people to garden and grow their own food?

  • Comment number 26.

    I would only support this as a very last resort.

    We must aim to get a healthier nation by:

    Promoting physical health at School - Healthy eating and PE (I wont mention which party sold the sports fields and introduced private biscuit and crisps merchants into our schools - you already know it was the tories).

    Subsidised sports facilties.

    Building many more Cycle lanes.

    There is no quick fix for this - its a long haul to re-introduce physical health into our culture.

  • Comment number 27.

    No doubt someone will reply to justify such irresponsible behaviour but there, in general, is little excuse for such condition. When I was in hospital the waste of time that the nurses had to endure winching overweight people out of bed was very high. Time that have could have been spent on dealing with the other thinner patients. And whilst on the subject. People should pay for air travel by weight. People can't help their height, so have a weight chart by height and charge for anyone over their weight.

  • Comment number 28.

    If there is a clinical need for an operation then it should be provided.

    The sanctimonious and self-rightious stating 'this is a lifestyle choice' are absolutely right. They can choose to not smoke or drink alcohol, go to the gym, play a sport and have a massive coronary and die on the spot at the age of 51, as happened to my boss. The point is you can do the right thing and still die young. It's not a guarantee of longevity but it can (emphasis on that word) increase your quality and length of life.

    Now... time to get off that high-horse and realise that not everyone is as perfect as you.

  • Comment number 29.

    If the operation makes these people change their eating habits, and they stay permanently at a normal weight, then the cost of the op is likely to be less than the cost of them remaining fat with all of the diseases that come with that.

    For those that say to fat people, "Just stop eating and get more exercise", that's like telling a drug addict or an alcoholic to "Just say no". It's a fatuous suggestion and is near impossible. If these people shouldn't get medical help because it is their own fault, who else shouldn't get medical help? Smokers, bad drivers who have accidents, suicide attempts, sky divers when they break their legs jumping out of an aeroplane.

    Saying that fat people shouldn't get help is about as stupid as you can get.

  • Comment number 30.

    If we are to believe that the financial security of the NHS is the single most important aspect of a health service rather than an altruistic approach to the health of a nation, you can then adopt a numbers game to the situation.
    (-please note this is not my own personal view point, I believe healthcare should be based on need.)

    Healthy people cost the NHS more*.

    Obese people cost less as they die earlier

    and smokers get the raw deal as the put in far more than they will ever see back.

    If we look at the topic from this perspective it simply comes down to personal responsibility. Fat people are lazy (a lazy stereotype I know) from a physical perspective. Eat well and exercise and you WILL lose weight.

    Realistically though a lot more factors play there part. I don’t want to be responsible for a dad missing his children growing up even if he is responsible for being obese.

    There’s more to life than money


    *Sources

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1577636/Healthy-people-place-biggest-burden-on-state.html

    http://news.scotsman.com/health/Healthy-people-39more-of-a.3742577.jp

  • Comment number 31.

    #9

    Philip, I would. I am getting very unsympathetic towards treating self-inflictions at the cost of the treatment of genuine problems. Yes, you'll ask where does self-infliction start and end, but there has to be a start somewhere and you have named good starting points. You can't tell me that there is not enough information out there for people to be totally unaware of what could happen as a result of lifestyle choices and hence take a more responsible approach. Or know that one will have to pay for treatment if they choose this lifestyle.

  • Comment number 32.

    Like all treatments on the NHS you have to balance the cost of prevention against the cost later if no action is taken.
    Preventing anyone from developing heart disease, diabetes, increased risk of cancer is sure to cost less in the long term.

  • Comment number 33.

    I am afraid I do not agree with obese people being given this type of surgery. These types of treatments should be funded privately.

    The money saved should be given towards cancer treatments.

  • Comment number 34.

    No, it should only be used if there is a genuine medical need.

  • Comment number 35.

    I think surgery can prevent complications caused by obesity, so yes, it is probably a cost effective move. What a shame so many people can't, or won't, cook though. Our supermarkets are full of healthy food but also full of instant and lurid rubbish. If you don't know how to cook it is too easy to grab for the instant stuff. And there is a Big Mac, or equivalent, perched on every corner. Education would seem to be the answer.

    People use the word " diabetes". I'd like to point out obesity comes with a risk of " Type Two Diabetes." But the less common Type One ( i.e. insulin dependant.) can suddenly inflict itself on a slim, fit person who is far from obese.

  • Comment number 36.

    Cleary these operations work although equally as clearly these people lack moral fibre as they seem unable to eat less and exercise more.

    Smokers pay so much tax on cigarettes that although they cost the NHS money the pay tenfold in tax any cost of treatmeant in fact if it wasn't for them the NHS wouldn't exist. Same goes for alcohol.

    So the solution is simple, tax fatty foods. Tax McDonalds, Burger King, KFC and chip shops.

    Make sure these people pay for themselves.

    Once they are paying the tax i have no problem with them getting whatever treatment they like.

  • Comment number 37.

    No. Let the fat slobs pay for it by themselves. The exception would be be people with genuine health problems which result in the over weight problem. Those whose condition is as a result of live style choice, must not have treatment paid for by the tax payer.

  • Comment number 38.

    21. At 08:24am on 27 Aug 2010, RPFP wrote:
    .....if you put them on a dessert island for a month.....

    I don't usually mention spelling, but a month on a pudding island?

  • Comment number 39.

    Unfortunately everything has a price and has to be paid for and whilst people are dying because the cost of life prolonging/saving cancer drugs are being denied to them then I really cannot see how surgery for things like sex change, IVF, obesity (yes, I know people eat themselves to death) and other socially motivated reasons can be justified.

    In an ideal world, yes! It's just a shame we don't live in an ideal world.

    Knownought

  • Comment number 40.

    I don’t know how effective these operations are in producing healthy permanent weight loss but given the failure rate of the standard treatment of semi starvation and admonishment it has to be worth a try.
    The fact that the obesity epidemic is getting worse rather than better surely proves that the standard prescription of a diet sheet and telling off doesn’t work. Some researchers believe that diets only make things worse in the long run - as the body adjusts to less food and adapts by becoming more effective at extracting calories from it.

    Attributing blame to obese patients might make some smug people feel good but it doesn’t nothing to solve the problem. The obesity epidemic will continue to get worse until medical science discovers a genuinely effective treatment.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm 5ft 5 and after having my daughter I weighed around 11 stone. My doctor told me I was obese and needed to drop to 9 and half stone. Not being funny, had I dropped to that you wouldn't have been able to see me! As it was, I carried on walking but also started at Slimming World. It was brilliant, very quickly I lost 1 stone and was happy to stay at that. In fairness it was probably easy for me to lose the weight as it was mainly from the pregnancy, however, if someone wishes to lose weight it can be done without surgery.

    Maybe the NHS should concentrate on putting the money towards the treatment of bowel cancer instead of something that, 9 times out of ten, is self inflicted and can be resolved without surgery.

  • Comment number 42.

    I have been obese since I was 9 years old and now, at 30, I have finally accepted that I will not lose the excess weight through diet and exercise alone. I have "co-mobidity" problems such as asthma and depression and after many years desperately trying to become what society deems "normal" I have taken my doctors recommendation and start my surgery process next month.

    I am very active - I go to the gym twice a week, play softball every week and go horse-riding as well. I prefer to walk rather than get public transport because I get claustrophobia and panic attacks.
    I have tried diets, slimming clubs, exercise and medication and none of these lost me more than a few pounds, and just leave me more depressed and defeated each time a new pathway fails. I because overweight through terrible bullying at school and then-undiagnosed learning disabilities which caused me to develop an eating disorder and self-harm as a teenager.

    I hate how I look. I always have. And I've endured years of other people saying they hate how I look too. Though I would say to these people just to stop for one moment before passing judgement - and be thankful you didn't have to endure half of what I have had to. I have survived - just about - and now I want to live life rather than suffer it.

    A bit of empathy would go a long way in this materialistic sociaety.

  • Comment number 43.

    "
    13. At 08:16am on 27 Aug 2010, Nok wrote:

    Fat people pay taxes too.
    "

    There are many fat people who not work because they are on sick benefits! Apart from being an embarrassment to themselves, these fat people are an embarrassment to the nation, which has through poor social engineering practices, created an environment where stupid people thrive.

  • Comment number 44.

    "
    13. At 08:16am on 27 Aug 2010, Nok wrote:

    Fat people pay taxes too.
    "

    There are many fat people who not work because they are on sick benefits! Apart from being an embarrassment to themselves, these fat people are an embarrassment to the nation, which has through poor social engineering practices, created an environment where stupid people thrive.

  • Comment number 45.

    #3 ClaudeBalls said

    "I'd recommend the Daily Telegraph diet. Move more and eat less. Hopefully that's not too complex. "

    I agree - not much fat in shredded newspaper is there!

  • Comment number 46.

    eat too much do too little you get fat, its that simple. why should the tax payer foot the bill for lazy, ill educated slobs ? whoever the genius was who proclaimed that obesity was an illness just gives the ever growing tubs of lard that clog up our health service an excuse for their disgusting lifestyles along with the smokers and drinkers. a caring society should care for those less fortunate but not those who chose to plague themselves with self inflicted conditions.

  • Comment number 47.

    The problem is our reliance on fast food and processed food, so do not blame the consumer, it is all down to the fact that we do not know what is in our food. Example, Bernaise Sauce. A jar of this product, usually spread on meat products at the dinner table, contains a staggering 11,000 calories. A family of four might use this up in 2 or 3 meals. A similar item, based on mayonnaise is used by fast food chains in beef and chicken burgers. We have become idle in not preparing our own foods.

    I would probably qualify for a by-pass, but no thank you. The only thing that works in the long term is by re-education of eating habits and choices. Nothing else really works in the long term.

  • Comment number 48.

    Be a good idea to have a FAT TAX, the last Government I'm sure would have come up with it eventually.

  • Comment number 49.

    Why not? They're already paying out for depressed women to get their breasts enlarged so they feel good about themselves. And there's a "debate" (LOL) about whether people with weight issues should or should not be offered surgery on the NHS?
    Stupid question for a stupid service that hasn't got its head screwed on.

  • Comment number 50.

    26. At 08:32am on 27 Aug 2010, sixpackerL wrote:

    would only support this as a very last resort.

    We must aim to get a healthier nation by:

    Building many more Cycle lanes.

    -----

    I'd prefer to see cycle tunnels.

    Build a national network of underground cycle tunnels, allowing cyclists to ride in perfect safety, whilst still being able to weave all over the road, ignore traffic light & cut up other road users at junctions.

    And at weekends they could still cycle en masse, taking up the entire road surface and reducing all traffic to 25mph, without inconvieniencing every single other road user.

    Clycling tunnels.

    Everyone's a winner.

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 52.

    If we take a lomg term health economic view, the cost of offering bariatric surgical intervention 'free' on the NHS is much less than the lifelong cost of maintaining the health of the obese, taking into account diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc, and the fact that such people may be too disabled to work or contribute to the economy.

    But (1) prevention is much cheaper better than cure. Greater effort must be made to educate parents and children about healthy eating and early intervention with 'tough love' may be required. Children should be skinny and run everywhere. It is not 'wrong' for them to feel hungry and that this hunger must be sated immediately with a high calorie snack. Not providing snacks or allowing constant grazing is not being a bad parent.

    But (2) The problem is that being fat is becoming the norm, and there is evidence to show that if your circle of friends and work colleaguers are fat, you are more likely to become fat too. It is alarming to see how many people are fat now compared with a few decades ago. And it is also alarming to see how many healthcare workers are fat too - setting such a bad example to the general population.

    We musn't be too PC and touchy-feely about this; seeking not to offend people who make a 'lifestyle choice' of being fat and then impose this on their children. They have to be told the truth about how awful they look, how much damage they are doing to themselves and their family, and how much of NHS resources they unnecessarily consume.

    I have to admit a personal problem here - I am seriously phobic around very fat people and find it increasingly uncomfortable and disturbing to be out and about now, especially in pubs and restaurants. And I absolutely dread the ultimate horror of being sat on a long haul flight next to a fat person. That's why I always book an aisle seat. This is not a joke!

  • Comment number 53.

    Lazy, greedy fat people! I don't want my taxes spent just because you can't stop stuffing your faces. Eat less, exercise more. More salads, fewer pies.

  • Comment number 54.

    As someone who has struggled with wieght problems since childhood, I was lucky enough to benefit from a gastric band last year and have lost 4 stone, THANK YOU!

    I was stunned to hear in the hospital recently there are undertones to stop offering these operation on the NHS, WAKE UP and STOP being so short sighted, if it was that easy to lose wieght there would not be a world wide issue of obesity would there??

  • Comment number 55.

    21. At 08:24am on 27 Aug 2010, RPFP wrote:

    I really object to my tax pounds being spent on people that can't or won't take responsibility for their own actions.

    ----

    This is the age of entitlement.

    If you withdraw services from everybody who refuses to take responsibility for their own actions there would be no public service.

    'Everybodies fault but mine' could be the national motto.

    or at least the Daily Mail's....

  • Comment number 56.

    To all the tax payers below, don't worry they are not handing out Gastric band surgery over the counter, As someone who weighs 27 stone and been on 100's of diets (I have lost in excess of 20 stone in 20 years) I was told only yesterday by a consultant that I am far too healthy to receive the operation! it appears you have to be on deaths door before its offered on the NHS

    It saddens me to read me some of the hate filled comments here eat less move more etc I wish my weight loss was THAT simple I pay my NI and I am entitled to treatment on the NHS according to your simple theory we would not treat smokers, alcoholics, drug users, joy riders in cars etc

  • Comment number 57.

    £6000 for an op? How much would it cost to put these bloaters in a fat camp for a month instead?

    Why is the tax payer funding this when all they will do once we have paid to make them thin is go and stuff pies down their throats again.

    Eat less , exercise more. Thats all that is needed. Its not in the genes, its not being big boned. when was the last time you heard an archaeologist exclaim "he must of been a fatty!" when they dig up a skeleton?

    Get off your lardy butts and move some more and stop pushing big macs in your mouths.

  • Comment number 58.

    //29. At 08:41am on 27 Aug 2010, inchindown2 wrote:
    If the operation makes these people change their eating habits, and they stay permanently at a normal weight, then the cost of the op is likely to be less than the cost of them remaining fat with all of the diseases that come with that.

    For those that say to fat people, "Just stop eating and get more exercise", that's like telling a drug addict or an alcoholic to "Just say no". It's a fatuous suggestion and is near impossible. If these people shouldn't get medical help because it is their own fault, who else shouldn't get medical help? Smokers, bad drivers who have accidents, suicide attempts, sky divers when they break their legs jumping out of an aeroplane.

    Saying that fat people shouldn't get help is about as stupid as you can get. //

    No, it's not. The most stupid thing is the idea that you are proposing, that people have no responsibility for their own health, and can expect the rest of us to pick up the tab for their self-indulgence.

    Maybe we need a complete rethink. No other country seems to offer an equivalent to the NHS. They use insurances, instead. Maybe we should do the same, and have people paying a proportion of their costs according to generally accepted criteria.

    So treatment of cancers would be fully funded, whereas less serious complaints wouldn't be. IVF and sex changes, for example, might not be funded at all. Likewise, injuries resulting from obviously dangerous sports such as skiing or martial arts or rugby would be covered by private insurance.

    Food for thought?

    Either way, the idea of an NHS which restricts cancer drugs but funds IVF and operations for fat people isn't tenable.

  • Comment number 59.

    As an overweight person, I should like to point out a few things.

    To all you emaciated sanctimonious fitness freaks. The inventor of jogging died of a coronary.

    To all the obese out there. Being obese is a lifestyle choice. I love good food and a few drinks. I don't exercise enough. It isn't rocket science, its my fault. It is NOT a disease, just simple spatial realistics. The entry hole is bigger than the exit hole. If you don't like it, do something about it.

    Anyway, I think all you skinny people look unhealthy. Eat something.

    I don't know what the fuss is about anyway, I'm not fat. I just over-nutritionalise.

  • Comment number 60.

    21. At 08:24am on 27 Aug 2010, RPFP wrote:

    I don't care what ailment that someone has, if you put them on a dessert island for a month with nothing to eat but some dried fish and a few grapes I'd be pretty confident that they would lose weight!
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Somehow I don't think they would lose weight on a DESSERT island! HA!

  • Comment number 61.

    At 08:24am on 27 Aug 2010, RPFP wrote:

    I don't care what ailment that someone has, if you put them on a dessert island for a month with nothing to eat but some dried fish and a few grapes I'd be pretty confident that they would lose weight!
    _________________________________________________________________________

    Somehow I don't think they would lose weight on a DESSERT island! HA!

  • Comment number 62.

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  • Comment number 65.

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  • Comment number 67.

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  • Comment number 68.

    I think that this issue is a complex one. I personally do not have any sympathy for obese people who are that way because they dont do any exercise and eat the wrong food. The NHS should not have to pay because people cant be bothered, you can get gym memberships for free in some places anyway surely this should be the first reccommendation. However for people with health problems who have genuinely tried everything and cannot loose the weight then maybe it is an option but the opperations shouldn't be handed out freely without having to prove you have tried other things first.

  • Comment number 69.

    May I state first of all that I am not overweight and have never been on a diet.

    Having said that, I believe that if somebody gets to the point where they are clinically obese and not just overweight, then it is no longer a lifestyle choice. Who would choose to be stared at, name called, insulted and generally hated by many in society (most of whom seem to be on HYS today).

    Obviously there are phsycological issues going on and these should be addressed as the priority. If surgery will enable/enhance any physcological therapy then it should be carried out.

  • Comment number 70.

  • Comment number 71.

    I speak as someone here who has lost 5 stone in weight, and has successfully kept it off without being miserable or feeling I am depriving myself.

    I have to say I am shocked by the comments of Ms Stearnes in this article, and feel what she says is misleading. To claim that after dieting 'when you start eating again - even if you're not binge-eating - it puts the weight back on' is simply misleading and plain WRONG. This lady clearly does not understand the sort of portion sizes and types of food she needs to be eating to maintain good health, and give her body everything it needs. Clearly she has become so conditioned by a life of overeating (it is plain that is the case, surely, if she has reached the weight she has) that she does not understand what is a 'regular' or 'normal' amount to eat that will maintain her size.

    If a person is putting weight on, unless they have a seperate underlying medical condition, then they are simply eating too much and exercising too little- there are no two ways about it. Food is fuel, if you dont burn it off, it stays there,inside of you, and will convert to fat if unused. Simply then, this lady is clearly eating more than what her body requires (the average lady, of an average height and weight, needs around 1500 calories just to function and get a decent level of nutrients each day, not allowing for any exercise.)Clearly then, if she is eating 2000 calories a day and only, for instance, working a desk job and driving too and from work every day she is creating a calorie excess- the food is going no where, it is staying in her and storing itself!

    She raises an interesting point though, if what I have said above happens to be true, that she is eating somewhere in the region of 2000 calories a day but is relatively immobile, then no, it might NOT feel like you are overeating, but if you are not using the energy then simply put, you ARE. It is HABIT which leads people both to over AND undereat, and a graduel increase or decrease in appetite must be conquered!

    On a seperate note I cannot help but feel gastric bands/bypasses fail to give any incentive to people to be motivated to conquer their own demons, and change their lives themselves. I cannot help but feel it devalues people who have worked hard to loose weight on their own, through diet and exercise.

    I would suggest councilling sessions to battle food addiction and other personal demons would be more worthwhile, and would help to inspire people to lead a healthier life.

  • Comment number 72.

    I actually underwent private bariatric surgery last year. I would never have either of the most common surgeries in the UK, the lapband and the gastric bypass. I had an elective Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) procedure performed in the Czech Republic.

    I chose this because after research I found that it had none of the malabsorption problems of the bypass and none of the refill and slippage problems of the band. The VSG is where the stretchy right hand side of the stomach, the fundus, is removed leaving you with a muscular banana shaped tube of a stomach. The removal is done by the excess stomach being stapled and cut off and then extracted via one of the laproscopy incisions

    When I eat now I get full very quickly so it's easy to not overeat. The part of the stomach that was removed secretes a hormone called grehlin which is associated with triggering hunger and I have found I do not feel hunger much anymore, a double bonus!

    I did actually look at what was offered in the UK on the NHS and it was woefully out of date with doctors having never heard of the VSG, the approval process long winded and with no guarantee of success. My criteria was to find an expert surgeon who had a proven track record in this surgery and plenty of experience in staple lines. I did not feel that any of the UK surgeons I found met those criteria so I saved the NHS the cost of surgery by paying for it myself abroad, which at £5,200 was cheaper than a private lapband op in the UK by a big margin.

    I am 14 months out now and have lost all my excess weight (over 120lbs) and am happily stable, I am off all the medication I needed when I was huge.

    The reaction of the NHS? When I got back from the Czech Republic after my surgery I made an appointment to see my GP who told me to make an appointment for the Friday to have my stitches removed by the Practice Nurse. I duly did this and on the Friday morning I got a call from the nurse telling me that they could not do this as I had the original op privately. I had to buy new nail scissors, tweezers and hydrogen peroxide solution and get my 18 year old daughter to take them out for me. Such support!

    Jane

  • Comment number 73.

    This is the same question as:

    Should we deny NHS services to those who drink, smoke, drive badly, use the wrong ladder, walk too little, play rugby, swim in the sea, had IVF or the weak and imperfect. Why should we pay tens of thousands for a helicopter to save to sailor who's gone too far etc. Where do we draw the line on who we help?

    I've been obese since my leg was damaged in a Cambodian refugee camp, others in my clinic had genuine medical reasons for their weight but MANY were simply some of life's saddest, simplest and weakest people, society's real no hopers, losers who will never stand a chance of saving themselves through self discipline or education.

    So do we cull these losers for their inadequacy? What other dregs of society do we neglect or leave to die or suffer?

    The Daily Express likes to foster vilification against the weak, but they would build a very hateful society.

  • Comment number 74.

    Ooops bit of an "over-post" there!

  • Comment number 75.

    49. At 09:06am on 27 Aug 2010, averagecitizen wrote:
    Why not? They're already paying out for depressed women to get their breasts enlarged so they feel good about themselves. And there's a "debate" (LOL) about whether people with weight issues should or should not be offered surgery on the NHS?
    ---------------------------------

    I think these are actually two very seperate issues. Surgery for obese people is likely to save the NHS money by preventing the complications from obesity for many of the people affected and hence makes some financial sense as well as improving the health of the people.

    Someone wanting a breast implant to cure depression needs psychiatiric help as I imagine that while the boob job may temporarily relieve a body image hatred a mentality that says that you have to have big boobs to be a worthwhile person will just find something else to obsess about once the boobs are done, hence just transfering the problem rather than solving it. (As an aside - girls, there are plenty of people out there who will like you even if you are flat chested, I can't fill an A cup and have never had issues getting people to fancy me)

  • Comment number 76.

    What a waste of money they should be given a diet sheet not surgery.

  • Comment number 77.

    "24. At 08:28am on 27 Aug 2010, You Are On Another Planet wrote:
    People make themselves fat. We pay the bill. 35,000 pensioners died last year because they could not afford to heat their homes. What a sick society. But when is anyone actually going to do anything about it?"

    --------------------

    Are you suggesting that pensioners should use fat people to heat their homes?

  • Comment number 78.

    I find these topics funny due to my situation. I was until very recently underweight and have been for all my life until about a year ago. My partner is clinically obease (doesnt look it though) and has been fighting with it for years.

    Neither of us can help it. I eat loads and she barely eats. If she starves herself she loses weight but quickly becomes ill (the doctors cannot explain it) so she fights to maintain her weight. To do this she walks 40 mins to and from work, goes to the gym after work and occasionally walks home from the gym. We spend saturdays walking for a few hours (for my excersise too). Home cooked meals with healthy fruit and veg making up the majority of her diet with occasional (I mean occasional) and few 'light' snack foods. Her family are all obease yet they all eat healthy excluding the youngest. None of them drink alcohol too.

    I eat whatever I want and how much I want (which is quite a bit of rubbish). I know it will possibly end my life early but then at least I will have enjoyed my life. I dont really excersise apart from going walking on saturday. I like full fat full flavour foods and my meals are always larger.

    I can understand such surgery being offered to people like my partner although I wouldnt want her to do it. I dont agree with people who dont try being offered this surgery.

  • Comment number 79.

    This issue is part of a fundamental problem with the NHS: the culture of free health care has become so deeply ingrained that some people have stopped taking responsibility for their own health.

    It is NOT easy to lose weight. The comments that fat people are greedy and lazy are offensive and ignorant. You'd have to be pretty desperate to want surgery. However it is time the line was drawn about which medical problems are individual responsibility and which should be payed for by the taxpayer. Personally I've spent a lot in gym fees over the years and I have no desire to subsidise those who haven't.

  • Comment number 80.

    This very same question was aksed on the HYS site just a couple of weeks ago and the general concensus was no, the NHS should not be performing these types of surgery.
    The morbidly obese, (let's just call them 'fat' from now on shall we as I hear this can motivate diet changes and exercising?) adopted lifestyle choices a long time ago that the majority of people in the world consider to be lazy and unhealthy. Fat people should NOT be able to receive free NHS treatments for health deterioration that has been brought on by years of over-eating and under-exercising.
    It saddens me to see scores of fat people shuffling around the supermarket pushing trolleys that are piled high with junk food, yet it angers me immensely to think that one day these people may be given free NHS treatment to correct the years of abuse that they have done to their bodies and to their general health.
    Lack of will power and discipline got them where they are, I find it very hard to show any remorse for suffering they may go through as a result of that.
    Finally, you can't just blame KFC, Domino's Pizza and McDonalds as there are plenty other manufacturers of high fat / high calorie foods out there. A fat person who doesn't eat at KFC at all can still go to Tesco's and buy a 2 litre tub of luxury ice cream for under £2 and a huge bag of M&Ms for £1 so it's not just a fast-food issue, it's an issue about the availability and price of highly calorific foods.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think in cases where there is a medical issue then surgery should be an option. I also think naturally thin people should think before posting, they have no real understanding of the subject. Fat people do not necessarily sit eating Big Macs all day. I am currently losing weight through calorie counting, I have lost 5 stones this year and still have a bit to go. I have a medical condition which contributes to weight gain, even before my diet I often ate much less than thinner colleagues. Exercise is not always possible for some people for a variety of reasons. Realise we are all different and stop judging people by the media ideals of weight and image. To say eat less and exercise more is a little simplistic and shows a lack of understanding.

  • Comment number 83.

    Surgery should only be available to those who are obese through medical troubles, i.e Thyroid problems. It should not be a quick fix for the lazy who do little or no exercise and eat vast amounts of fatty, un-nutritious food. Eating smaller amounts and less fat and taking regular exercise is the ONLY reliable way of losing weight. NHS resources should go to those who really need help, no the serial idle.

  • Comment number 84.

    Wow! What a bunch of self-righteous, sanctimonious, puritans we have on this forum.

    Most people make at least some 'lifestyle choices' which could lead to them damaging themselves. For example, unless you live in a remote area with little or no public transport or are disabled, most private car ownership is a lifestyle choice. So any motorist who is injured in an RTA should be left to fend for themselves should they???

    Similarly for all sports injuries? Well, - they're all lifestlye choices. Dangerous activities such as flying microlights, rock climbing, kite surfing - all lifestyle choices and anyone who suffers an injury should be left to die?

    What about smoking and drinking? Should the NHS ignore anyone who becomes ill as a result of these activities?

    And who's going to decide which patient is 'deserving'?

    Oh yes. I'd like to point out that most of the people who suffer these 'self-infliced' illnesses - especially those who participate in the more expensive activities - are tax payers.

  • Comment number 85.

    42. At 08:54am on 27 Aug 2010, Sharon wrote:

    I have been obese since I was 9 years old and now, at 30, I have finally accepted that I will not lose the excess weight through diet and exercise alone. I have "co-mobidity" problems such as asthma and depression and after many years desperately trying to become what society deems "normal" I have taken my doctors recommendation and start my surgery process next month.

    ----------------------------

    If it makes you feel any better the societies normal you speak of from magazines and tv only cater for a portion of the male population. A while ago I became friends with a girl you can only describe as round. The best part was that it suited her and she was described as one of the hottest (or prettiest depending who you asked) girls in the room. And no it wasnt empty by a long shot.

    Had she asked I would have jumped at the chance of a date (at the time I was way too shy to ask). All I can think of is how happy she was and how much she just enjoyed her life without caring about the thin image.

    Hope that cheers you up.

  • Comment number 86.

    No ,obesity surgery on the NHS is a disgraceful misuse of funds. There's evidently something badly wrong with life in Britain today. We need to look backward to a time say even the seveties...look at films and tv progrmmes from that period , people looked better,certainly thinner. People drove cars and ate fish and chips in the seventies ,what's happened? The complete myth that junk food is cheaper than real food.. if it was then there'd be little profit for the purveyors of the stuff; a potato is cheaper than the fries made from it, right? otherwise no profit. On tv in the fifties and sixties there were adverts for ,(Cape)apples (Outpsan)oranges,(Fyffes)bananas,eggs,milk healthy breakfast cereals.. amazing by today's standards. Society gets so much(too much actually)conflicting advice nowadays. The fish and chip shop and cafe seems to be becoming quite rare in some areas now but we had fish and chips in the fifties and there wasn't the amount of obesity you see now. Seems to be a (weird?) fashion now for men to look fat and therefore strong...(fat is fat not muscle!),shirts not tucked in to attempt to hide the fact, ditto women too ,although they have more fashionable ways to disguise it. One hears bad things about hospital food , doctors to me have never been vocal enough about diet and nutrition.(well, i suppose that they don't make much money from well people). The well paid hospital consultants and doctors should insist on really good food in hospitals but do they , isn't good nutrition part of the treatment? School meals have obviously and unforgivably deteriorated over time ,although one is led to believe they are a bit better again now and so they should be. I can vouch for the fact that school meals in the fifties and sixties were really well balanced (for children)meals ,steamed vegetables and all coooked on the premises.(council school,council estate))It's a disgrace that these standards were allowed to fall in the first place.if we don't care about children's nutrition we won't care about our own. So we've got fatter not through great nutrition, that's another myth. Meanwhile the world of sport continues in a big time profesional way. I think that men believe that when they wear the replica clothing and stand in a pub watching the match they are going to lose weight and get fit purely by watching and saying loudly in unison "Goal!!!" or something. I don't think that you can get fit by merely wearing a piece of sports clothing, doesn't work for me anyway.We seem happy to pay our football stars ridiculous amounts of money to keep fit for us to watch , but neglect ourselves, another weirdness. Solution? competitive sports in schools ,it's ok to be bad at games too .(just running about is the thing ,even if you can't say tackle very well) More mobilty for children,safer streets, bring back Popeye and his spinach and 'Olive Oyl'worked for us kids, we saw the message! T.V. advertising of basic foods again and the message that potatoes are cheaper than crisps otherwise nobody would be making crips! Instead of fish burger,large fries, big muck,and milk shake (cost£6.50 ish)See what you can buy for that in a market food hall even grandma knew that..wisdom! Women just need to walk more, like my mum had to! Calories in ,calories out, not the whole story, but hunger doesn't make people fat does it ,generally? If you are overweight, i recommend going to watch a ballet..the experience might just shock you into action. You can do it!!

  • Comment number 87.

    I do not usually comment on 'Have your Say' but as a medical health writer this issue is of particular interest to me.

    Firstly I think compulsory physical education for 1 hour per day should be re-introduced into schools in addition to healthy lifestyle choice classes so there is no excuse for future generations.

    With regard to current generations anyone who exceeds a certain weight should be forced to go to their doctor for a check up and then issued if needs be with a healthy eating and exercise phamplet with follow up appointments every 2 weeks over 6 months. Long-term this will be cheaper than providing extensive medical care on the NHS at a point where the condition has become extremely serious.

    As an incentive if the obese person is on benefits and do not get to a target weight within 6 months then their benefits should be cut. If an obese person is not on benefits and do not get to a target weight within 6 months then they should be fined.

    Tough measures yes but something definitely has to stop this trend for obesity in its tracks. Theonly people who should be entitled to help on the NHS are those with medical conditions linked to their obesity (grief, depression, physiological and so on)

  • Comment number 88.

    It seems that there are a few people that are basically saying, 'let the fat people die', it's their fault, why should we care?

    Maybe people who play football or rugby or cricket who get injured during play should also be left to mend themselves as that's also their fault, they should of got out of the way, or better still, not taken part in the first place.

    I've played sports all my life, it's injured me terribly and the most cost I've been to the NHS is fixing me when I've hurt myself because I was keeping fit so that I don't get fat. Now, I can't run (used to do half marathons, two a year), or play cricket, and a bit of five a side footy is about all I can manage, I try walking, but I am now overweight, due to still eating like a horse, like I did when I ran 30 miles a week and took part in all kinds of games. Appetites are not easy to shake off.

    Sorry, fat fascists, but it takes all kinds and not everybody is fat becasue they are on the sick or lazy and but for the grace of God, it could be any of us.

    I know all of my joints and various other fittings will cost the NHS in the future, but it wasn't because I was fat or lazy and I've worked and paid tax since I was 18. That also doesn't mean that I won't try to lose it, because contrary to some opinion, I don't like looking like Mr Blobby (TM).

    Maybe some encouragement and help rather than a tirade of abuse could do more than any gastric band or the neo-con diet and exercise orders.

  • Comment number 89.

    My guess is that surgery is offered on the NHS, when it is the most appropriate solution - which will generally be only after other methods have been tried and failed. As a taxpayer funded service (and especially in a time of tight finances) the NHS cannot be expected to give people a completely free choice of treatments 'free' on demand.

    It is, of course, far more desirable that people should avoid becoming obese in the first place which, with the exception of a small proportion with particular genetic/medical conditions, is most likely to be done by having healthy food (more fruit and veg rather than burgers, chips and sweets) and plenty of exercise (which can be as simple as walking to school and going to the park) from a young age. Education of young people and their parents is obviously key to this, but it is clear that this will take time to have effect and will require some change in social attitudes, particularly among the most vulnerable groups.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    I don't know what experience other people had when growing up.

    The first time I went to the chippie was with some friends when I was about 8 - my mother never bought or cooked chips, until then I had never eaten a chip. Coca Cola I had for the first time when out with friends. Fizzy drinks were not allowed at home.

    I was not given money for the tuck shop at school, so when the comparatively healthy school meals (in those days) were served, I ate them.

    I had bars of chocolate, but not on a daily basis. If I wasn't hungry I was never pressed to finish my dinner, but there would be nothing in place of it later unless some of that meal was edible cold and it had been set aside. Is this why I cannot force myself to finish a meal if I have eaten enough?

    The only time I was taken to the Wimpy Bar was as a treat when Dad took me.

    We had no TV until I was 10, so entertainment involved reading, chess, piano - and horseriding and playing outside with friends - usually running around and climbing trees. If it snowed there would be loads of kids outside playing - not so much now.

    Is this why I'm still slender despite getting beyond the middle age spread age?

  • Comment number 92.

    No the answer in most cases is to eat less, and exercise more. My wife works for the NHS and comes across a lot of grossly obese people, and the majority are not prepared to take the steps to lose weight.

  • Comment number 93.

    27. At 08:36am on 27 Aug 2010, Sue Doughcoup wrote:
    "..Time that have could have been spent on dealing with the other thinner patients. And whilst on the subject. People should pay for air travel by weight.."

    I wonder if the NHS has a cure for hate? It seems that if anyone has the misfortune to deviate from a very subjective 'norm' eg. poor, rich, fat, ethnic etc etc, they become a target for attack based on extremely shallow assuptions about the persons lifestyle/culture/attitudes.

  • Comment number 94.

    and smokers get the raw deal as the put in far more than they will ever see back.

    Not so. The vast majority of smokers are on low incomes or on benefits*. The tax they pay on cigarettes has been paid to them through the benefits system or is the main tax they do pay. The cost to the NHS and to the taxpayer (because smoking is both a symptom of low aspiration and achievemnt and often a cause of their inability to secure well paid employment) of smokers is not offset by the tax they pay on smoking. This may not be true of the small minority of well paid jobs who smoke but thay are a minority of smokers too.

    * [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 95.

    There are some things that the most rabid anti-fat bigots are ignoring

    1. The diet industry has a vested interest in keeping people fat after all if their products actually worked they would put themselves and out of a very lucrative business.

    2. Most diets fail because people are presented with many forbidden foods, the diet industry knows that when something is forbidden it becomes attractive which in turn becomes craving which in turn becomes binge eating which in turn becomes fat which in turn cause desperate people to waste more money on useless diet's and pointless "exercise" devices

    3. The health fanatics who demand that fat people attend gyms are the same people who sneer at and belittle those fat people who are visiting gym's they make the gym so uncomfortable and forbidding that they drive fat people out of the gym and into MacDonald’s. They smugly point at this as evidence of how lazy fat people are while ignoring their own part in what has happened or worse they try to justify their condescension and insults by falsely claiming it to be “encouragement".

    What fat people need is exactly the same as what fit people need, athletes do not win races and excel at what they are doing without the positive support and encouragement of others, similarly people with eating disorders whether the be obese, anorexic or bulimic cannot succeed in overcoming them without the support and encouragement of those around them.

  • Comment number 96.

    The argument that the surgery saves the NHS money in the long term by preventing future problems caused by obesity, such as diabetes, is a valid one. However, it is based on the premise that the NHS will always be there to pick up the tab for what are self-inflicted problems. In my view there should be a clearly identifiable and separate "NHS Tax" - and that people who abuse their own health such as the obese should pay higher premiums, to reflect the risks they take. It is exactly how the insurance industry works. By offering an unlimited and endless supply of free treatment, the NHS actually encourages bad lifestyle choices - in essence it is saying "whatever you do, mummy will be here to pick up the mess". Yet at the same time, there are many who suffer illnesses through no fault of their own who are denied treatments because the NHS can't afford them. I know several very overweight people who eat loads of sugary foods and fish and chips who say "it's OK, I get cholesterol pills on the NHS" or "if I get heart problems my doctor will be able to fix it". The argument that dieting and exercise don't work is rubbish - there are very few people who have medical conditions that cause them to gain weight despite normal calorie intakes. I was very overweight when I left school. I spent a year on a strict diet. It was unpleasant and it was hard work. If surgery had been around then, or I'd been surrounded by social workers telling me "you're ill, you have obesity, you can't help it" I'd probably have never stuck with it.

  • Comment number 97.

    No certainly not. We have cancer sufferers sentenced to an early death because there isn't enough money to pay for drugs most other European countries can afford but then those countries don't pay out billions on cosmetic surgery for greedy people. If I was obese I'd be ashamed that my lack of willpower and assumption that somebody else should sort me out was going to cause the early death of somebody who got ill through no choice of their own. One commenter said obese people pay taxes too - have you checked the number of obese people on benefits because they are 'too fat to work'. Yes it is a genuine excuse apparently. So we have to pay twice for those people.

    I get the point about surgery now will save money in the future but a gastric band doesn't stop greed does it? What happens when the band is removed and they can go back to their old habits?

    So let's take away all the emotion and look at the facts. When you become obese you are carrying around enough weight that simply eating normal sized portions would result in you losing weight without any extra effort as the body has to work overtime every time you move. So the truth is that to remain the same size, you have to eat massive amounts of food which, surprise surprise, costs money. Therefore, anyone receiving a gastric band immediately starts saving money as they physically can't eat the same quantities. So all that money saved can be paid back to the NHS to go towards the cost of the operation and payments can continue after the band is removed until they have paid back the full amount. Problem solved and it's not an unfair solution nor does it penalise them for over-eating. Whereas that money would have just been going down their throat, now it will go to help cancer sufferers receive the medication they need to live longer. What obese person could argue with that and not appreciate the feeling that they are helping somebody else to have a longer and/or better life?

  • Comment number 98.

    Contrary to the massive media deception camapign's propaganda obesity in the main is not caused by 1) eating too much and 2) not excercising enough. It is as a result of poisoning by trans-fatty acids as found in trans fats. It is easy to cure with about 80% of weight loss occuring within the first year. I lost 7 stone over the course of a year. At the begining I weighed 20 stone and ate an average of only 500 calories a day for the preceeding 7 months but to no effect. By the end of the diet change (below)I weighed 13 stone and was eating five times as much i.e. a more normal 2500 calories a day. My initial cellular metabolism was down to an incredible 15% of normal!


    The secret?: 1) Remove all vegetable oils from your diet not explicity labelled "cold pressed" except olive oil which is always cold pressed. The other will most usually have been passed over a hot nickel catalyst at 260 degrees celcius. Until recently this was done along with hydrogen (hence hydrogenated vegetable) oil but recent legislation overseen by the Food Standards Ageny has resulted in the hydrogen being turned off and as a result the oils contain even more trans isomer form bonds and are now even more dangerous and toxic than before!

    2) Take one or two tablespoonsful of hemp or linseed oil per day for a year or two, thereafter a low maintenance level is all that is required.

    3) Only fry or roast with animal fat or olive oil.

    In most obese people results will be noticed within six weeks. Peak weight loss occurs at 4-5 months.

    Its very simple BBC. Why don't you either check out the mass of scientific literature on this subject or even simpler get some of your obese employees to try it even if only for six weeks? Go on, I dare you to check it out and then stop taking part in the massive obesity deception campaign propagated for the benefit of the drug companies and purveyors of fad diets to the masses, not forgetting the medical profession of course.

    At the moment the BBC is by default engaged in a partisan campaign aimed at disinforming its viewers and listeners and as such is deceiving many of them to their deaths and subjecting them to lives of misery. Please stop it BBC.

  • Comment number 99.

    Yes

    The NHS should pay for it.

    Why you ask?

    Because of a number of reasons.

    A = Obese people pay tax, which in turn pays for the NHS, therefor they deserve treatment as they PAY for it.

    If you are going to deny them treatment then they should be able to "opt out" of the NHS & pay for private treatment with the tax saved + a little extra.

    This would open a floodgate which would inturn destroy the NHS when people can "opt out".

    B = Smokers/Drinkers/Obese people actually cost the NHS less on average than a healthy person.

    This is due to the fact they DIE alot younger & therefor are less likly to get an array of different conditions that occur much more often in later life, saving the NHS money.

    Cancer being a key one.

    Now factor in the reduced cost of paying those who die young state pensions or being put into care for 10 years at tax payers expense.

    C = I don't smoke, drink & I am not obese

    Why should I pay for people who do dangerous sports, or for people who break a leg by going horse riding?

    Dangerous lesuire activities & the injuries caused are just as self inflicted as drinking/smoking/over eating.

    Again, you see the problem with setting a bar in which care will or will not be provided.

    Its subjective, while you may not want to pay for "fatties" or smokers, I don't want to pay for foolhardy leisure activities.

    But I'm happy to bite the bullet, as that's we do in a civilised place.

  • Comment number 100.

    Yes
    The NHS should pay for it.
    Why you ask?
    Because of a number of reasons.
    A = Obese people pay tax, which in turn pays for the NHS, therefor they deserve treatment as they PAY for it.
    If you are going to deny them treatment then they should be able to "opt out" of the NHS & pay for private treatment with the tax saved + a little extra.
    This would open a floodgate which would inturn destroy the NHS when people can "opt out".
    B = Smokers/Drinkers/Obese people actually cost the NHS less on average than a healthy person.
    This is due to the fact they DIE alot younger & therefor are less likly to get an array of different conditions that occur much more often in later life, saving the NHS money.
    Cancer being a key one.
    Now factor in the reduced cost of paying those who die young state pensions or being put into care for 10 years at tax payers expense.
    C = I don't smoke, drink & I am not obese
    Why should I pay for people who do dangerous sports, or for people who break a leg by going horse riding?
    Dangerous lesuire activities & the injuries caused are just as self inflicted as drinking/smoking/over eating.
    Again, you see the problem with setting a bar in which care will or will not be provided.
    Its subjective, while you may not want to pay for "fatties" or smokers, I don't want to pay for foolhardy leisure activities.
    But I'm happy to bite the bullet, as that's we do in a civilised place.

 

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