Weight Loss Surgery in Mississippi

Mississippi is in deep trouble. According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Magnolia State is in the grip of an epidemic: the epidemic of obesity. Across our state, the number of overweight and obese individuals is rapidly increasing. In fact, almost 66% of the population of Mississippi is overweight or obese, making Mississippi the nation’s least healthy state. Diabetes, stroke, and heart disease are endemic in Mississippi’s population, especially within ethnic groups prone to being overweight. And it’s not just adults -- a recent study using a sample of African-American children in the rural town of Canton, Mississippi revealed that 46% were overweight or at risk of being so.

Obesity is the second most frequent cause of preventable death in the United States, and Mississippi natives are not alone in their fight. However, if not addressed, severe and morbid obesity often lead to a shortened life span because those who suffer from obesity face a significantly higher risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

This epidemic cannot be allowed to rage unchecked. Mississippi cannot be allowed to remain the nation’s least healthy state. Something must be done.

Getting Fit

Obesity is not simply a matter of losing weight, nor is it a character flaw. It is a disease caused by a disordered relationship with food. Losing weight is simple math: when a person takes in fewer calories each day than their body needs to function, the body begins to burn fat to stay alive, resulting in weight loss.

The difficulty comes in restricting caloric intake – the primal urge to eat when hungry is almost irresistible. And, for some, the pleasure of eating is a
substitute for emotional satisfaction. Others are food addicts, plagued by a constant craving for something to eat, regardless of whether they are physically hungry.

The difficulty of losing weight often leads those with the disease to attempt self-treatment, including crazy diets, extreme exercise programs, or “magical” weight-loss pills. Some do lose weight by these methods -- but most gain it back fast, and usually damage their health in the process.

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 the patient’s lifestyle and eating habits. To beat obesity, our state residents must begin to eat healthier foods in smaller portions. Most people can accomplish this lifestyle change through education, counseling, and sheer willpower.

But for many, weight loss surgery is the only way they can break destructive lifelong habits.

About Weight Loss Surgery

Weight loss surgery is performed under general anesthesia, usually laparoscopically. Its purpose is to physically limit the amount of food that the patient can eat by surgically altering his or her stomach or digestive tract. The alterations make it nearly impossible to overeat—at least initially—and cause the patient to take in fewer calories each day than he or she burns. Consequently, the patient loses weight safely, and relatively rapidly.

Weight loss surgery, however, is not magic. Only a complete change in a patient’s lifestyle can cure the disease. Patients who fail to follow postoperative instructions may regain any weight lost. Those considering bariatric surgery as an option for the management of obesity should discuss their options with their physician prior to making a decision.

Mississippi can win the war on obesity. We can send some other, lesser state to the bottom of the healthy-states list. By changing our diet and lifestyle – and by using weight loss surgery as a weapon of last resort – we can beat obesity here, and make things better in this state we all love.

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