Why Is it Taking So Long for us to Embrace Bariatric Surgery?

For years, we’ve been guided by the basic principle that diet and exercise staves off obesity, and that eating sugar and living a sedentary lifestyle makes us fat. However, studies have shown that this just isn’t true…at least, it’s not that simple. Despite our endless gym memberships and extreme diets, our waist sizes are increasing. In Canada, 28% of the population is obese. In a recent  Globe and Mail article, this question is put forward: why aren’t more obese patients getting sleeve gastrectomies?

The Simplicity and Effectiveness of the Sleeve Gastrectomy

A sleeve gastrectomy has been characterized as a straightforward procedure. Unlike diet and exercise, the procedure not only shrinks the size of the stomach but also reduces the body’s ghrelin levels, the hormone that stimulates hunger sensations. The procedure involves the removal of 60–85% of the stomach pouch, thus restricting the amount of food the patient now needs to feel full. The whole procedure takes just under an hour, and patients can expect to return to work in as little as two weeks.

Why Is the Procedure Not More Common?

Quebec is ahead of other provinces in terms of weight loss surgery numbers. One in 90 obese people receive surgical treatment for their obesity, however, that is nothing if you consider that almost a third of our population would benefit from a procedure. So why isn’t more being done to help obese Canadians when “simple” diet and exercise isn’t enough? Cutting through the red tape and the haze of bureaucracy reveals the unfaltering and incorrect stigma that obese people are somehow to blame for their weight, which makes government-funded weight-loss surgery a politically and ethically charged subject on which nobody agrees.

More and more evidence is emerging that points the “blame” to something that not a single person on the planet can control: their genetic makeup. If you carry the gene variant called rs9939609, you share the same characteristic with every other obese person on the planet, which might be more to blame than unhealthy lifestyle choices.

If you think you qualify for bariatric surgery and diet and exercise have not helped, fill out of patient questionnaire to find out if surgical weight-loss treatment is right for you.

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