Saturday, 21 April 2007

Weight loss: a matter of life and death?

A few days ago, I saw an interesting ad in a local newpaper. It was a full-page ad for weight loss surgery - gastric banding or gastric bypass.

Written in very large type and highlighted in colour, the first few lines of the ad said:

"Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem. It is a disease and a serious health threat."

True. Next was the following sentence, printed in smaller lettering:

"Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke are just some of the ways in which your health can be affected by being overweight or obese."

Also true. But then, the ad went on to say:

"Compared to non-surgical treatments, obesity surgery allows patients to lose weight and keep it off."

I think that is misleading. Some non-surgical weight loss programs (such as those I market) do allow people (not "patients") to lose weight and keep it off.

Surprisingly or maybe not, there was no mention in the ad of the risks that weight loss surgery involves, including the risk of death. The ad seemed to imply that weight loss surgery was a simple, straightforward and risk-free procedure. It is none of the above. I hope that overweight people who saw the ad will do their "due diligence" before choosing to undergo weight loss surgery.

No comments: