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Obesity prejudice is alive and well.

Obesity is often said to be the last acceptable form of social prejudice and most people with weight problems have experienced “fat prejudice” of one form or another. However, their complaints are often dismissed as exaggerated or unreliable and there is a general attitude that their weight problems are self-inflicted. But it isn’t just that being overweight attracts negative comments; being obese has important societal effects well beyond unpleasant comments. Obese individuals not only have to endure stigma but also tend to avoid healthcare services such as check-ups and screening programmes. Two recently published studies compared the experiences of overweight...

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Action, not knowledge is key to weight loss success.

One of the most common myths about those who are trying to lose weight, is that they need detailed nutritional information. Yet, despite the vast number of dieticians and nutritional counsellors currently in practice, rates of obesity in the UK have remained stubbornly high. There is more information about “healthy eating” available today than we have ever had in the history of mankind, but we are also fatter than we have ever been. In the face of all the evidence to the contrary, nutritionists and dieticians continue to insist that it’s a problem of information; that if we could only...

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Why consider a mini-gastric bypass?

Most people have heard of a gastric bypass – more usually called “stomach stapling” – but few are aware that there are actually two types of bypass surgery, rather than one. The standard bypass (also called Roux-en-Y) was developed in the US by Dr Edward Mason. in the 1960’s and remained the “gold-standard” procedure for decades. But in recent years, a new operation, called the mini-gastric bypass (MGB), has dramatically increased in popularity. It was developed by Dr Robert Rutledge in the late 1990’s and today it is rapidly becoming the preferred option by many bariatric surgeons. But why is...

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How does the gastric band work?

It is widely believed that the gastric band works by creating a feeling of fullness (satiety) in the recipient. This feeling is believed to be due to stimulation of the vagus nerve which carries information from the body’s organs – including the stomach, pancreas and liver – to the brain. In the gastric band patient, food ingested into the stomach above the band (pouch) results in stimulation of special branches of the vagus nerve (vagal afferents) which then transmit a satiety response to the appetite centre in the brain. This results in reduced food intake and weight loss. However, until...

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