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More obese in Kerala prefer a clinical tread to slim down

THRISSUR: Blame it on the increasing number of cases of morbid obesity, or the increased awareness about its after-affects, the number of people undergoing bariatric (weight-loss) surgery in Kerala has doubled in just two years.

According to surgeons dealing with obesity cases, at least 60 bariatric surgeries take place every month. Two years ago it was well below 30.

Dr Mohamed Ismail, chief surgeon, Department of Gen & GI Endosurgery, Moulana Hospital in Perinthalmanna told TOI that awareness about bariatric surgery, the ever increasing number of obesity cases and references by general doctors are the main reasons for this. The surgery costs between Rs 1.75 lakh and Rs 5 lakh depending on the hospital.

“Unorganized and unscientific lifestyle is the main reason for morbid obesity. Ever since laparoscopic obesity surgery (an upgraded form of bariatric surgery) came into vogue (around 2006), educated people have been approaching us for it. When I began surgery in 2006, there were only a couple of cases in a month. The figure is around 25 now, and the enquiries about the surgery have increased at least ten fold. Hundreds of obese people are undergoing diet counselling every month,” said Dr Ismail.

A pioneer in the field, Ismail is also an executive member of the Obesity Surgery Society of India(OSSI).

“Last year, OSSI conducted a survey among children in the four metros in India and found that nearly 30% of the kids are obese. The case is not much different in Kerala. Recently I carried out the surgery on a six-year-old. It shows that a good amount of the future population is obese,” he said.

Dr Koshy George of Meditrina Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram said laparoscopic surgery is carried out on patients with over 35 BMI (body mass index – a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual’s weight and height).

“Most cases in our hospital are that of NRI Malayalis mainly from West Asia. Most patients are aged between 35 and 50. There has also been a surge in enquiries about the surgery in the past two years, as well as an unhealthy trend of fat people approaching us (for surgery). We counsel them on proper diet and regular exercise. On an average, 25 bariatric surgeries are carried out a month,” he said.

Dr O V Sudheer of Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Ernakulam who conducted the first laparoscopic obesity surgery in the state in 2006, opines that nearly 60% of the patients who underwent surgery are youngsters.

“Fast food and high calorie food have taken a toll on the health of youngsters. I did just one surgery in 2006, but by 2011, the figure had risen to 102,” he said.

“Over-consciousness is also a reason why people contact us. Proper counselling and awareness about diet and exercise from childhood is a must in today’s world. Diet awareness should be included in school syllabus if possible,” said Dr Ismail.

Short URL: http://www.cckerala.com/?p=12125

Posted by on Jun 24 2012. Filed under Kerala News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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