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Weight loss surgery focus of seminar at Cape Coral Hospital; Benefits to be discussed

By Staff | Oct 17, 2008

Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that 66 percent of all U.S. adults are overweight or obese and, as a result, weight loss options are some of the most important health decisions that any American can make.

According to CalorieLab, a national organization that monitors obesity, Florida is ranked 38 nationwide with 62.1 percent of its population overweight or obese.

According to the lab, 68.1 percent of Mississippi’s population is overweight or obese — the highest percentage over any other state for the last three years. The thinnest state, Colorado, has an overweight and obesity rate of 55.7 percent.

Obesity is defined by the National Institute of Health as being 100 pounds or more above one’s suggested weight or having a body mass index or BMI of 40 or greater.

Being overweight not only interferes with a person’s ability to breathe or walk, but also contributes to a number of serious diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancer.

Over the last decade hundreds of different diet and exercise programs have been introduced ranging from all liquid diets to full-time bodybuilding regiments, but a growing number of Americans are considering bariatric surgeries such as gastric bending, gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy.

Bariatric surgeries can decrease the size of the stomach so less food is ingested or reroute the small intestine which results in the patient losing considerable weight.

Health officials agree that these surgeries have been used to improve the quality of life for nearly 100,000 people over the last six years.

The Lee Memorial Health System offers two types of surgery for the overweight or obese: the LAP band, which decreases the size of the stomach, and gastric bypass, where the stomach is surgically shrunk.

On Thursday, Cape Coral Hospital will host an education seminar to inform the community on the benefits of weight loss surgery.

Dr. Moses Shieh, the new medical director for Lee Memorial’s Bariatric Surgery program, will host the seminar inside the Life Center at Cape Coral Hospital. He joined the health system in March and currently practices with Suncoast Surgical Associates.

“Our bariatric program takes a very compassionate and comprehensive approach in conquering morbid obesity,” he said.

During his seminar, Shieh wants to explain to the community that losing weight involves much more than simply getting the surgery.

“It is more than just surgery. It is an extensive program that will ensure our patients’ long-term successful weight loss by providing them comprehensive preoperative and postoperative education, nutritional and behavioral support groups and follow-up,” Shieh explained.

Some psychologists believe that this type of surgery is useless unless the patient also conquers their addiction to food, which in some cases has manifested over years causing the patient to view food as his or her comfort and source of happiness.

Therefore, this type of behavior requires a patient to join a behavioral support group in addition to receiving the surgery.

Organizations such as the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance have set up a campaign to help people accept their own weight. Their official position on the surgery is that “there is no conclusive evidence that gastrointestinal surgery for weight loss increases longevity or improves overall health.”

The association also points out that there have been a number of deaths associated with the surgery, but Shieh stresses that in the long run it benefits a patient’s health and drastically changes his or her quality of life.

“With bariatrics, it’s amazing to see patients changing their lifestyles after their surgeries. They have such a vibrancy that wasn’t there before,” he said.

For more information on the seminar or to register, call 343-9966.