Bariatric surgeons from across Asia have said that the government should take obesity-related deaths more seriously. The surgeons,who were in the city for the Asian Consensus Meeting on bariatric surgery,said that obesity and diabetes are silent killers and take more lives than swine flu.
Earlier Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had mooted mandatory diabetes checks for the rural population. It is high time that the government recognise obesity and diabetes as serious diseases, said Dr Muffazal Lakdawala,who runs a trust called the Centre for Obesity and Diabetes Support in India. He added,Swine flu has killed 100-odd people so far. One person dies every 10 seconds due to diabetes-related causes and countless others die due to obesity but we do not have any count. CODS,comprising a panel of medical doctors from across the country,helps spread awareness about obesity and its co-morbidities and the possible solutions to obesity.
The surgeons also suggested mandatory screening for obesity at an early age so as to prevent co- morbidities. Unlike other developing countries like Brazil where bariatric surgery is covered under private insurance,Indian companies do not cover it under insurance schemes.
Private insurance companies would start looking at covering bariatric surgery only if the government declared it as a serious concern and acknowledged that it is a life-saving procedure,not a cosmetic surgery, added Dr Lakdawala.
The surgery is beneficial as it leads to weight loss and lowers blood sugar level. However,only a few can afford the procedure that costs over Rs.2.5 lakh.
CODS had recently inaugurated a dedicated helpline for patients with serious obesity-related problems.
800 sleeve gastrectomies in India last year
A total of 800 sleeve gastrectomy surgeries a surgical weight loss procedure were performed in India in the last one year. Around 67% of these surgeries were performed on women.
Sleeve Gastretomy has shown marked improvement in weight loss (75% excess weight loss by year 2),type 2 diabetes mellitus (88% resolution by year 2),hypertension (93% resolution by year 2) and dyslipidaemia, said Dr Lakdawal.