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The other Pandemic, Alarming Diabetes and Obesity, Part 2: Obesity and Bariatric Surgery


In today’s rapidly changing world, the prevalence of obesity has reached pandemic proportions, contributing to an array of health challenges. Obesity, defined as an excess accumulation of body fat, has become a pervasive public health issue, affecting individuals of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. With its alarming rise, obesity has garnered the status of a pandemic, joining the ranks of other global health concerns. The obesity pandemic has far-reaching consequences for individuals and society as a whole. It is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, obesity places a significant burden on healthcare systems, with increased healthcare costs and reduced quality of life for those affected.

Through this article, we aim to shed light on the complex nature of obesity and its relationship with type 2 diabetes. We will explore the causes, consequences, and potential solutions for addressing this multifaceted issue. By understanding the underlying factors contributing to obesity and the interplay with diabetes, we can pave the way for effective prevention and management strategies.

At GSS Health and Consultation Company, committed to providing holistic healthcare solutions, we recognize the urgent need to combat the obesity pandemic and its profound impact on individuals and communities. Our mission is to provide comprehensive solutions that empower individuals to overcome obesity, improve their overall health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Through evidence-based approaches, personalized consultations, and ongoing support, we are committed to helping individuals achieve their weight management goals and embrace healthier lifestyles.

Alarming Statistics and Projections for Obesity 

The World Obesity Federation published its fourth World Obesity Atlas, which provides predictions for the prevalence of obesity in men, women, and children by 2030. The findings indicate a concerning global trend, with the number of people living with obesity projected to double across the globe. The report highlights that countries are not on track to meet the 2025 World Health Organization (WHO) target of halting the rise in obesity. Moreover, low- and middle-income countries are particularly affected, with the number of people with obesity expected to more than double in these regions. 

To address this escalating crisis, there is a call for a comprehensive Global Action Plan on Obesity. The plan would involve governments working with the WHO to develop strategies to combat obesity and its associated health risks. The report also introduces the Obesity-Non Communicable Disease (NCD) Preparedness Index, which reveals that lower-income countries are the least prepared to address obesity and its related diseases. This emphasizes the need for urgent action to support vulnerable populations.

The World Obesity Federation’s findings underscore the importance of recognizing and addressing the gravity of the obesity challenge. It is crucial for political and public health leaders to take decisive action and prioritize prevention, treatment, and management of obesity. While the report highlights the missed opportunities of the past decade, it also provides hope by acknowledging the increasing scientific understanding of obesity and the growing demand for action within communities.

According to the World Obesity Federation, World Obesity Atlas 2022: 

  • One Billion People Living with Obesity: The report estimates that one billion people globally, including 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men, will be living with obesity by 2030. This projection signifies a doubling of the current number of people with obesity across the globe. 
  • Failure to Meet WHO Targets: The findings indicate that countries are on track to miss the 2025 World Health Organization (WHO) target of halting the rise in obesity at 2010 levels. This failure underscores the urgent need for effective intervention strategies.
  • Disproportionate Impact on Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs): Low- and middle-income countries will witness a significant increase in obesity rates. Obesity numbers are expected to more than double across all LMICs and triple in low-income countries compared to 2010 levels.

What kind of disease is Obesity?

Generally, obesity is not a disease in itself, but it is considered a complex medical condition characterized by excessive accumulation of body fat. It is often associated with various health complications and an increased risk of developing other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders.

On the other hand, according to the World Obesity Federation (World Obesity Federation Position Statement, accepted 20 March 2017), obesity can be considered a chronic relapsing disease process. Obesity is viewed as a disease from an epidemiological model perspective, where an agent (in this case, food) affects the host and produces the disease. Obesity is primarily caused by an abundance of food, low physical activity, and other environmental factors that interact with the genetic susceptibility of the individual. Excess energy from food is stored as fat in enlarged fat cells, and this can lead to the infiltration of fat into other organs such as the liver. Enlarged fat cells and ectopic fat produce and secrete various metabolic, hormonal, and inflammatory products that can cause damage to organs like the heart, liver, arteries, muscle, and pancreas. 

Obesity is characterized by a chronic and relapsing nature, with individuals experiencing weight regain after initial weight loss. The long-term stability of body weight without treatment intervention suggests the existence of a set point or settling point mechanism that regulates body weight. Obesity is associated with increased risks of mortality and morbidity, including a higher risk of developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular diseases. The impact of obesity on health and healthcare costs supports the argument for considering it a disease process.

Overall, obesity fits the epidemiological model of a disease process, with food acting as the toxic or pathological agent. Recognizing obesity as a disease can help raise awareness, promote prevention efforts, and provide appropriate clinical interventions for individuals affected by obesity.

Common Symptoms of Obesity:

Obesity is characterized by excessive body fat accumulation, which can manifest in various symptoms and signs. Some common symptoms include:

1. Weight gain: Rapid and consistent weight gain, especially around the abdomen, hips, and thighs, is a primary symptom of obesity.

2. Increased body mass index (BMI): A BMI of 30 or higher indicates obesity.

3. Breathlessness: Individuals with obesity may experience shortness of breath during physical activity due to the extra weight exerting pressure on the lungs.

4. Fatigue: Carrying excess weight can strain the body, leading to increased fatigue and reduced energy levels.

5. Joint and muscle pain: The additional stress on the joints and muscles can result in pain, particularly in the knees, hips, and back.

Causes and Risk Factors:

Obesity is caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Several risk factors contribute to the development of obesity, including:

1. Poor diet: Consuming energy-dense foods high in unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed ingredients can contribute to weight gain.

2. Sedentary lifestyle: Lack of physical activity and spending excessive time in sedentary behaviors, such as sitting or lying down, can lead to weight gain.

3. Genetics: Certain genetic factors can predispose individuals to obesity or influence their metabolism and fat storage.

4. Psychological factors: Emotional eating, stress, depression, and certain psychiatric conditions can contribute to obesity.

5. Socioeconomic factors: Limited access to healthy food options, lower education levels, and low socioeconomic status can increase the risk of obesity.

The Consequences of Obesity

Obesity is not simply a matter of aesthetics or body image; it has profound health consequences. People with obesity are at a higher risk of developing a range of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and musculoskeletal disorders. Additionally, obesity can lead to psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, further impacting an individual’s quality of life.

Diagnosis and Medical Evaluation:

Diagnosing obesity involves a comprehensive medical evaluation. Healthcare professionals may:

1. Measure body weight and height to calculate BMI.

2. Assess waist circumference to determine abdominal fat distribution.

3. Evaluate medical history, including family history of obesity and related health conditions.

4. Perform blood tests to assess cholesterol levels, blood sugar, and hormonal imbalances.

5. Conduct additional tests to identify underlying medical conditions contributing to obesity, such as hypothyroidism or polycystic ovary syndrome.

Treatment Options and Taking a Comprehensive Approach:

The treatment of obesity typically involves a combination of lifestyle modifications, medical interventions, and in severe cases, bariatric surgery. Common treatment options include:

1. Lifestyle changes: Adopting a balanced diet, portion control, regular physical activity, and behavior modification techniques can help achieve sustainable weight loss.

2. Medications: In certain cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medications to assist with weight loss by reducing appetite or inhibiting fat absorption.

3. Bariatric surgery: Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure performed on individuals with severe obesity. It involves modifying the digestive system to reduce food intake or nutrient absorption.

But addressing the obesity epidemic requires more than just treatment alone. It demands a multifaceted approach that involves individuals, communities, healthcare providers, policymakers, and the food industry. By working together, we can create a comprehensive strategy to combat obesity and promote healthier lifestyles. Here are some key strategies that can contribute to combating obesity:

1. Education and Awareness: Increasing awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, and physical activity is crucial. Educating individuals from an early age can help establish healthy habits and prevent obesity.

2. Promoting Healthy Eating Habits: Encouraging the consumption of a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins while reducing the intake of sugary drinks, processed foods, and unhealthy snacks is essential. Nutrition education, food labeling, and taxation on sugary beverages can help steer individuals towards healthier choices.

3. Regular Physical Activity: Encouraging regular physical activity is vital in preventing and managing obesity. Governments, schools, and workplaces should promote physical activity through initiatives such as community exercise programs, active transportation, and workplace wellness programs.

4. Supportive Environments: Creating environments that facilitate healthy choices is crucial. This includes increasing access to affordable, nutritious food options, promoting safe and accessible recreational spaces, and implementing policies that limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children.

5. Healthcare Interventions: Healthcare providers play a vital role in addressing obesity. Effective interventions include individualized counseling, behavior modification programs, and, in severe cases, bariatric surgery. Collaborative efforts between healthcare professionals and patients are key to successful outcomes.

6. Policy Changes: Policymakers have a responsibility to implement evidence-based policies that support healthy lifestyles. This can include implementing stricter regulations on the food industry, promoting nutrition education in schools, and improving urban planning to encourage physical activity.

What is bariatric surgery, and why is it performed?

Bariatric surgery is a surgical procedure performed on individuals with severe obesity who have not achieved significant weight loss through other methods. It involves modifying the digestive system to achieve weight reduction by either restricting food intake or reducing nutrient absorption.

This surgical intervention is recommended for individuals who have struggled with severe obesity and have been unable to achieve substantial and sustained weight loss through non-surgical means. It is particularly considered when obesity poses significant health risks or leads to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or joint problems.

The primary objective of bariatric surgery is to facilitate substantial and sustained weight loss, resulting in improved overall health and reduced risk of obesity-related diseases. By modifying the anatomy of the digestive system, these procedures help individuals shed excess weight and maintain a healthier body mass index. Moreover, bariatric surgery offers the potential for resolving or significantly improving obesity-related comorbidities like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. These positive changes not only enhance physical well-being but also contribute to an improved quality of life.

In addition to the physical benefits, bariatric surgery has a profound impact on individuals’ mental well-being and self-esteem. Weight loss following the procedure often leads to increased mobility, improved physical fitness, and a renewed sense of confidence. These positive changes can significantly enhance an individual’s overall quality of life.

It is crucial to note that bariatric surgery is not a standalone solution. Long-term success requires individuals to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyle changes, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and ongoing medical support. Postoperative care and monitoring from healthcare professionals play a critical role in minimizing potential risks and complications and ensuring sustained weight loss and overall well-being.

When considering bariatric surgery, it is essential to take several considerations and precautions into account. Firstly, candidates for the procedure undergo a comprehensive evaluation to determine their eligibility and readiness. This evaluation involves assessing medical history, current health conditions, and potential risks associated with the surgery.

Secondly, individuals must be committed to making significant lifestyle changes to ensure the success of the procedure. This includes adopting dietary modifications, engaging in regular exercise, and committing to lifelong follow-up care. Bariatric surgery is not a standalone solution but a tool that requires active participation and dedication from individuals to maintain long-term weight loss and overall well-being.

Thirdly, like any surgical procedure, bariatric surgery carries risks. These risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots, and potential complications related to the alteration of the digestive system. It is important to thoroughly understand and discuss these potential risks with healthcare professionals before making a decision.

Lastly, postoperative support is crucial for individuals who undergo bariatric surgery. This support includes dietary guidance, psychological counseling, and regular follow-up appointments with healthcare professionals. Ongoing support is vital for monitoring progress, addressing any concerns or complications, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle after the surgery.

Considering these factors and taking the necessary precautions ensures that individuals make informed decisions and are adequately prepared for the transformative journey of bariatric surgery.

In conclusion, bariatric surgery is a transformative option for individuals with severe obesity who have not achieved significant weight loss through other methods. By modifying the digestive system, this surgical intervention offers the potential for substantial and sustained weight loss, resolution of obesity-related comorbidities, and an improved quality of life. However, it is important to approach bariatric surgery as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes lifelong commitment to healthy lifestyle changes and ongoing medical support.

Common Types of Bariatric Surgery:

1. Gastric Bypass Surgery: This procedure involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting it directly to the small intestine. By bypassing a portion of the stomach and small intestine, it restricts the amount of food that can be consumed and reduces the absorption of nutrients.

2. Sleeve Gastrectomy: In this procedure, a large portion of the stomach is removed, leaving behind a smaller, banana-shaped sleeve. The reduced stomach capacity helps control food intake and induces early satiety.

3. Adjustable Gastric Banding: This surgery involves placing an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach, creating a small pouch. By restricting the amount of food that can enter the stomach, it promotes portion control.


Individuals play a crucial role in combating obesity by taking charge of their own health. It starts with personal responsibility and making informed choices regarding diet and physical activity. By adopting healthy eating habits, engaging in regular exercise, and managing stress levels, individuals can take positive steps towards maintaining a healthy weight.

Communities also have an essential role to play in addressing obesity. Creating supportive environments that promote physical activity and provide access to nutritious foods is vital. This can include developing parks, bike paths, and walking trails, as well as establishing community gardens and farmers markets to increase access to fresh produce. Community-based programs and initiatives can encourage individuals to engage in physical activities and make healthier food choices.

Healthcare providers play a crucial role in identifying and treating obesity. They can provide personalized counseling, create tailored weight management plans, and offer ongoing support to individuals struggling with obesity. Collaborative efforts between healthcare professionals and patients are key to achieving long-term success in weight management.

Policymakers have a significant role in shaping the environments in which individuals make lifestyle choices. Implementing evidence-based policies that promote healthy lifestyles can have a profound impact. This can include regulations on the marketing and availability of unhealthy foods, incentives for the food industry to produce healthier options, and integrating nutrition education into school curricula. Policies that improve urban planning, such as creating walkable communities and prioritizing public transportation, can also encourage physical activity.

The food industry has a responsibility to contribute to the fight against obesity by providing healthier food options. This can involve reducing the levels of added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium in processed foods, as well as promoting transparent food labeling to enable consumers to make informed choices. Collaboration between the food industry and policymakers is essential to develop strategies that prioritize public health over profit.

In conclusion, addressing the obesity epidemic requires a multifaceted approach that involves the participation of individuals, communities, healthcare providers, policymakers, and the food industry. By recognizing the collective responsibility and working together, we can create an environment that supports healthy choices, promotes physical activity, and offers accessible, nutritious food options. Only through a comprehensive approach can we hope to reverse the obesity epidemic and pave the way for a healthier future.

At GSS Health and Consultation Company, we believe in a comprehensive and personalized approach to healthcare. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing evidence-based guidance, tailored treatment plans, and ongoing support to help individuals achieve their health goals. We strive to create a compassionate and inclusive environment where individuals can embark on their journey towards a healthier life.

Join us as we delve into the intricacies of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and discover practical steps towards a healthier future. Together, let us empower individuals to overcome these challenges and embrace a life of vitality and well-being.