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Lots of email about yesterday's story about the increase in stomach stapling surgery in the US, and our criticism of the trend.

MNB user Ron Hinkle wrote:

I could not agree with you more on this subject. The whole idea of taking personal responsibility seems to be waning in our society. I am tired of hearing people say "It's not my fault" or "I want a quick fix to the problem" towards not just obesity, but other ills in the world. Makes me wonder where we are going.

As parents, my wife and I have turned off the TV and games and made our kids go outside and play. They need to be active, not couch potatoes. You can apply this same philosophy to adults. Take responsibility for yourself and take care of your body. Do not blame others for your obesity. Over my life I have heard that coffee is good for you, then bad, then good, then bad, etc. So, is it good or bad? Depending on who does the test, that is your answer. Consuming in moderation the key. And yes, there are instances where medically (genetically) you can not control your weight, but those are the exception and not the rule.

I like to think of myself as an "Average Joe" in America, with the same thoughts/beliefs as many others. I don't want to come off as a snob, without compassion for my fellow Americans. The point is, quit taking the "victim" role.

MNB user Frederic Arnal wrote:

I agree with your comment that extreme measures like stomach-stapling are a kind of "magic bullet" for people unwilling or unable to moderate their
and/or lifestyle. At the same time, I feel that trying to re-engineer food is also a way, albeit less extreme, of avoiding reality.

The majority of nutritionists in my experience have expressed skepticism regarding the long-term benefits of low carb diets and instead advocate a lifestyle review and moderate use of all good foods plus more activity. They feel that adopting any "food-group avoidance" diet will result in short term weight loss simply because people are watching what they eat and eliminating whole groups of food. Most soon revert to type when the initial zeal fades.

Even though purveyors of food and food service are tripping over each other in their rush to market low-carb, rather tasteless versions of common food brands, I can't help but think that most of these will be a memory in the not too distant future.

However, another member of the MNB community makes a legitimate point:

My view is simple-how can you possibly have conviction in regards to obese teen-agers? Do you have an obese teen? Speaking as an obese teen, now an overweight 35 year old woman, I can assure you that no one thinks of this drastic surgery as an easy way out. It is not as simple as you think. This surgery is not "Magic" as you suggest. It comes with risks, behavioral changes are required, and obesity at any age is not necessarily the result of kids who can't control their impulses.

While I believe (surgery) is not the answer for everyone, (at any age) it could be considered an option in extreme cases. The true "gift" here is that an insurance company is finally willing to pay for the surgery. Do you know that other eating disorders are covered by insurance (bulimia, anorexia) but not obesity?

The point of the story, in my humble opinion is that the Insurance Companies are finally coming around-again this surgery should not be viewed as an easy way out-more though as an extreme measure to an extreme condition. I am grateful, and I hope more insurance companies follow suit.

But another MNB user wrote:

I just read about the Boston hospital that was evaluating teens and children for stomach-stapling. This is terrible!

Stomach stapling is a dangerous operation that can have lethal complications (it killed 1 out of the 3 people who I know that had it). Considering this Frankensteinian option, is teaching children how to eat in a healthy balanced way so difficult?
KC's View: