May 7th, 2013
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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has had lap-band surgery, according to a report in today’s Politico. Christie’s weight has long been an opportunity for fat-bashing humor and has been considered an obstacle to a potential Presidential run. However, Christie, who had the operation on his 50th birthday, said that he had the operation to be healthier for his wife and children.
October 3rd, 2012
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Severe or morbid obesity (BMI >40) continues to grow. A new analysis estimates, after adjusting for self-report biases, that, in 2010, 15.5 million adult Americans or 6.6% of the population had an actual BMI >40 kg m−2. The prevalence of clinically severe obesity continues to be increasing, although less rapidly in more recent years than prior to 2005. PubMed: Morbid Obesity Continues to Rise in the US. To put this number in perspective, 15.5 million is the in-between the population of the 4th and 5th largest states by population, Florida and Illinois. Or, it is roughly equal to the populations of Nebraska, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington, DC, and Wyoming, combined. It is also about equal to the total US population that use Twitter and the total Asian-American population.
Eric Finkelstein et al have projected that morbid obesity will increase 130% over the next 2 decades. PubMed: Obesity and Severe Obesity Forecasts through 2030
What is significant, to my mind, is that unlike any other chronic disease I can think of, we have an effective treatment for the most severe cases…bariatric surgery. We could (and should) employ a strategy to bring this intervention to this population which we know can benefit from it. This is the same population which has the highest mortality, morbidity and health care costs and health care utilization. What am I missing?