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Fighting obesity

Indications are that bariatric surgery is becoming popular in the Sultanate as the population becomes more and more figure conscious. Changes in lifestyle resulting from overdependence on junk and processed food, sedentary habits and lack of exercise result in people getting overweight and, if left unchecked, obese. Children are particularly vulnerable to overeating and eating junk food, fries and high-calorie snacks as well as remaining glued to gadgets at the cost of outdoors. Youth too are seen to revel in junk food and in-between snacks as also high-calorie drinks. The fad among the youth for bulking up with high-protein diet and supplements like muscle builders could also be blamed for unexpected obesity complaints. Many of the body-building supplements have been found to contain excessive amounts of steroids that help develop an appealing body figure early on, but lead to health problems and obesity later on. Doctors have warned that the Sultanate’s crisis of excess adipose could get out of hand if not tackled early. The International Diabetes Foundation warns of an explosion of obesity-driven diabetes cases by 2030 in the Sultanate. Already a third of the nation’s population is considered obese, including nearly 38 per cent of its women. A high incidence of cardiovascular diseases is blamed on the lifestyle that sustains an overweight population. Every year some 1,400 people die of cardiovascular conditions and about 1,000 of diabetes-related complications. It’s in this backdrop that more and more people are opting for bariatric surgery after other methods of shrinking the waste fail.

News reports that the Royal Hospital in Muscat successfully conducted a bariatric surgery the other day is indeed welcome. It gives hope to many who are struggling with obesity problems. In fact the popularity of this procedure has been on the rise across the Sultanate. Many private hospitals have already been performing this surgery for several years now. One hospital in the city says it has conducted close to 120 such procedures in the last few years. Medical practitioners have been performing bariatric procedures on the obese, who are acutely diabetic or cannot undergo sleeve gastronomy on account of other health complications. The nation is proud that Royal Hospital has begun doing mini gastric bypass surgery, which is an unconventional procedure. The laparoscopic procedure helps patients to recover fast and avoids unnecessary blood lose or development of undesirable scars on the skin. The fact that such procedures help patients lose up to 75 per cent weight in the first year has been attracting wide attention in the whole region, which is battling the bulge in an unprecedented manner. However, it should be kept in mind that invasive procedures should be resorted to only in life-threatening situations. The other cases are ripe candidates for lifestyle switch. Doctors say some 20 per cent of those who go under the knife could benefit from lifestyle changes, underscoring the importance of preventive approach to healthcare. The government gives a lot of importance of developing a health culture from early childhood. Schools and colleges can teach the children at a young age to take care of their body just as they are taught to tend to their intellect.