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Surgery for rising obesity

13th December 2006

31082006_obesity1.jpgSeverely obese children should be offered stomach surgery to lose weight, says new guidance from NICE.

The guidelines have been issued on the treatment and prevention of obesity, and advise where surgical and drug treatments for adults and children should be considered.

Obesity has overtaken tobacco as the leading cause of ill health – with a quarter of adults now considered clinically obese, costing an estimated £3.7m a year.

Figures show obesity has doubled in the last 10 years in England and Wales and the government is predicting obesity will continue to rise; a third of adults and a fifth of children will be considered obese within the next four years.

NICE say those with a body mass index (BMI) above healthy levels should be supported in making lasting changes to their diet and exercise habits, and if these attempts fail more extreme measures should be considered.

Surgery would be a last resort for adults with a BMI of 35 or more where weight loss could improve chronic disease, while those with a BMI over 50 should be given surgery immediately. Children with a BMI of more than 40 who have gone through puberty and where all other attempts to lose weight have failed should also be considered for surgery.

Drug treatment should only be considered where children have life-threatening conditions that could be eased by weight loss.

NICE also called for a holistic approach to tackling obesity, which would see the NHS working with schools, employers and local authorities on a range of public health measures to help people maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.

This includes creating safe and suitable areas for play and exercise and ensuring schools and nurseries provide a healthy diet to children. Buildings should be designed to encourage more activity and employers should provide secure cycle parking and showers to encourage activity.

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Article Information

Title: Surgery for rising obesity
Author: Sue Knights
Article Id: 1473
Date Added: 13th Dec 2006


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