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article imageHealth expert believes obesity programs are a 'waste of cash'

By Genevieve Julich     Aug 1, 2011 in Health
An Australian obesity expert explained recently, "An obese person's body is programmed to regain any weight that is lost and authorities are wasting money on campaigns urging people to exercise and eat healthy food."
An article in theage.com covered this assignment when in an opinion piece in The Medical Journal of Australia Joseph Proietto said "weight loss in obese people only led to changes in energy expenditure and hunger-controlling hormones that encouraged weight gain."
He said, "the high failure rate of weight-loss programs could be explained by growing evidence that obesity was "physiologically defended. It is likely that it is these physiological adaptations that make it so difficult to maintain weight loss. Importantly...in those who are already obese, public health messages encouraging people to eat healthy food and exercise are unlikely to have a long-term impact on their weight."
Professor Proietto who was interviewed by The Age said "the weight control clinic he ran at the Austin Hospital was overwhelmed with demand, with a two-year waiting period. But the hospital was funded to do no more than 20 gastric banding operations a year."
He continued, "All the money is put into giving messages on television, but actually that doesn't' work-you can't convince someone not to eat who is hungry. He said political leaders were ignoring the biological reasons for obesity for focusing on lifestyle messages and providing only limited funding for bariastric surgery, which has been shown to achieve long-term weight loss."
Professor Proietto says, "in the absence of safe, effective pharmacological agents that can be used long-term, bariatric surgery is the most successful intervention for sustained weight loss. Gastric banding surgery could reverse obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnoea."
Proietto's focus on the surgery has been probed at by other medical experts, who say that this surgery is a 'last resort' and does not address the root of the obesity issue.
Jane Martin, the senior policy advisor for the Obesity Policy Coalition says "the surgery was not feasible as a population-wide solution to obesity because it is expensive, risky, and not always appropriate. It's time for the government to implement policies that tackle the key drivers of obesity, including protecting children from pervasive junk-food marketing, implementing traffic-light labelling on processed foods, and taxing unhealthy foods together wit subsidising healthy foods for those on low incomes."
At least Proietto and Martin agree upon that. He says, "It is important to focus on preventing obesity, particularly in children, but that more resources were needed for people who were already obese."
More about Obesity, Health, waste of cash, Overweight, Fat
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