Weight Loss Surgery in Hawaii

July 1, 2009 · Filed Under Weight Loss Surgery · Comment 

Hawaii is at war – a war on obesity. Obesity – the condition of being significantly above one’s healthy weight – is attacking the health and lifespan of Hawaiians on every island, and of Americans nationwide. In fact, obesity is the second most common cause of preventable death in the United States. Aside from the physical discomfort and psychological stress caused by obesity, the condition can also bring about life-threatening illnesses, called co-morbidities, including diabetes, heart conditions, and hypertension. In the Aloha State, more than 56% of the population is overweight or obese.

It’s costing our state money, too – and plenty of it. According to recent data from the U.S. Public Health Service Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the cost to taxpayers for obesity-related expenditures in Hawaii alone amounts to more than $40 million annually. The number of surgeries to treat obesity in Hawaii surged 900% between 1995 and 2006, with Hawaiians spending $13 million on weight loss surgery in 2006 alone — at an average charge of $34,000 for each procedure.

Unique Challenges

Some aspects of the obesity conflict are unique to Hawaii due to our state’s one-of-a-kind ethnic makeup. Research suggests that for certain populations, Hawaii’s obesity rates are some of the highest in the country. The CDC’s 2002 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) reported that, of the many ethnic groups represented in Hawaii, Native Hawaiians had the highest proportions of obesity (37.5%), followed by Hawaiians of Caucasian ancestry (17%), then by citizens of Japanese (8.9%) and Filipino (8.8%) descent.

This is war. Obesity costs lives. Something has to be done to save them. Something must be done to stop the obesity epidemic in Hawaii.

The Surgical Option

Beating obesity will be a struggle. Many of those suffering from this condition attempt to lose their excess weight through trendy diets, extreme exercise programs, or quick-fix pills and shakes. Although some people do manage to lose significant weight in this fashion, the large majority quickly regain it after they stop their weight loss program.

For this reason, weight loss surgery – also known as bariatric surgery – has become an increasingly popular treatment option. Research shows that bariatric surgery can minimize or resolve co-morbidities in obese individuals, and well as help those who have no co-morbidities reach a healthy weight and improve their life expectancy.

Weight loss surgery is considered by many physicians to be the best procedure by which to ensure long-term weight loss success. However, like all forms of surgery, there is a possibility of postoperative complications, such as nutritional deficiencies, hernias, infection, and gallstones.

In addition, although weight loss surgery can be a true lifesaver, it is not a magical panacea. Patients must be prepared for a complete change in lifestyle for the surgery to have the desired long-term effect. Those patients who fail to follow postoperative instructions from their surgeon over the long-term may regain any weight lost or hit a plateau.

Hawaii has a number of highly qualified bariatric surgeons who can provide detailed information about recommended treatment options. Individuals considering bariatric surgery should talk to their primary care physician and carefully weigh the risks and benefits of these procedures.

No miracle cure for obesity exists. The only way to successfully treat the disease of obesity is through medical care, based upon a complete change in lifestyle and eating habits. For most of us, education, counseling, support and willpower are enough to accomplish this. For the rest, weight loss surgery stands as a weapon of last resort. The war on obesity in Hawaii can be won, but victory will require hard work and courage on the part of the people of our state. To beat obesity we must change the way we Hawaiians think about and relate to food, enabling us to live longer, healthier lives.

Weight loss surgery in Hawaii is a growing trend, since more than 56% of the state population is overweight or obese. Visit online website for Weight Loss Surgery .