Parker Brown, staff writer for MedPage Today released an article on August 18, 2015 titled The Weight Loss Menu: Surgery with a Side of Meds, with a subtitle – The abundance of medical options for treating obesity may not be a good thing.
The MedPage Today article is based upon a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled Prevalence of Childhood and Adult Obesity in the United States, 2011-2012 by Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD1; Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH1; Brian K. Kit, MD, MPH1,2; Katherine M. Flegal, PhD. This study concluded that increased vigilance regarding obesity in adults had little impact on reducing obesity from 2003-2004 versus 2011-2012.
Results In 2011-2012, 8.1% (95% CI, 5.8%-11.1%) of infants and toddlers had high weight for recumbent length, and 16.9% (95% CI, 14.9%-19.2%) of 2- to 19-year-olds and 34.9% (95% CI, 32.0%-37.9%) of adults (age-adjusted) aged 20 years or older were obese. Overall, there was no significant change from 2003-2004 through 2011-2012 in high weight for recumbent length among infants and toddlers, obesity in 2- to 19-year-olds, or obesity in adults.
The issues with surgery and pharmaceutical weight loss drugs are that the results are temporary unless there is also a significant reduction in calories and consistent exercise. There have been five new drugs approved by the FDA since 2010. There is statistical evidence that all of these drugs pose increased heart risks. The side effects of surgical procedures can be extreme. Some of the procedures such as lap bands can become ineffective if the patient does not follow the recommended amounts for each meal. Neither drugs nor several of the less drastic surgical procedures provide long-term weight loss for many obese patients.
The conclusions from these studies are that there must be changes in lifestyle beyond the drugs or surgical procedures. These changes include eating healthy food in moderate quantities, daily exercise of at least 30 minutes per day, and little or no empty calories as found in sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juices that have added sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The exceptions to losing weight through exercise and dietary changes are found in people with thyroid, hypothalamus or other glandular conditions. Otherwise, significant weight loss can occur and be maintained by most people if they follow these changes following surgery or a weight loss regimen that involves pharmaceuticals.