Colorado is getting fatter. Despite our reputation as the slimmest state in the Union, the truth is that more Coloradans than not are overweight. In fact, more than 53% of the population of the State of Colorado is overweight or obese.
A person is considered obese if he or she is significantly above a healthy weight. What constitutes a healthy weight? It's determined by your body mass index (BMI). If you have a BMI of at least 25 are considered overweight. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese. You can calculate your BMI by multiplying your weight in pounds by 703, and dividing this figure by your height in inches squared.
Obesity is taking a tremendous toll on our state, not just in money, but in lives. It is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and may lead to co-morbidities, which are other life-threatening illnesses related to obesity. , Common co-morbidities include Type II diabetes, heart conditions, and hypertension.
What's more, obesity-related medical expenditures cost us Coloradans approximately $874 million per year. And despite Colorado's perennial ranking as one of the nation's leanest states, data based on trends from the latest Colorado Health Survey shows that within the next eight years, the portion of the Colorado population that is obese will likely rise to 66% or higher.
As a result, many scientists and physicians believe that the obesity epidemic is the most serious health threat facing the population of our state.
Losing the Weight
Many Coloradans who are living with obesity try gimmicks to lose their excess weight: fad diets, exercise programs, even so-called weight-loss pills. Some sufferers lose significant weight in this fashion, but many quickly regain it after they suspend their weight loss program. Others lose no weight - and wreck their health trying.
Fortunately, another option exists: weight loss surgery. Research shows that bariatric surgery can ease or even resolve obesity-related medical conditions, like diabetes, in individuals who have a BMI of 35 or higher. It can also help people who are obese and don't have any co-morbidities to reach a healthy weight and reduce their chances of developing weight-related health problems in the future.
About Weight Loss Surgery
The three main types of weight loss surgery are malabsorptive, restrictive, and combination, each with different risks and benefits. Over the long-term, patients who undergo the Lap-Band or gastric bypass surgery lose approximately 55% of their excess weight on average. For this reason, many doctors consider bariatric surgery to be the best means of ensuring long-term weight loss success. However, like all forms of surgery, weight loss surgery presents the patient with a risk of major postoperative complications, including anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and gallstones.
Considering Surgical Weight Loss
Weight loss surgery is effective because it cuts a patient's caloric intake, which is the only proven mechanism for weight loss. By limiting the patient's food consumption, the surgery reduces how much food-and therefore how many calories-a patient can consume.Once the number of calories the patient takes in per day drops below the threshold of the person's daily metabolic needs, he or she will lose weight. Simply put, those who have successful bariatric surgery feel hungry less often and feel full more quickly, causing them to eat smaller portions and drop pounds.
Although weight loss surgery can be a true lifesaver, it is no magical cure-all. Surgery is a tool, not a complete solution to the problem of obesity. Surgery only makes sense when part of a healthy lifestyle. Weight loss surgery patients who fail to adopt healthier eating and activity habits, or who refuse to follow postoperative instructions, may regain any weight lost or suffer other negative health effects.
Weight loss surgery is a powerful weapon in Colorado's fight against obesity. Like all weapons, however, it is not to be used casually. Before deciding to undergo weight loss surgery, individuals who suffer from obesity should first consult with their primary care physician and carefully weigh the risks and possible outcomes of different bariatric procedures.