Medical Tourism Fights Against Obesity Epidemic

Obesity Tourism, Obesity Treatments, Bariatric Surgery Abroad, Weight Loss Solutions, Overweight, Medical Tourism


Medical Tourism Fights Against Obesity Epidemic

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The obesity epidemic continues to expand rapidly all over the world. Since 1980 worldwide obesity has almost doubled, affecting people of all ages and lately, children under 5 years old. The statistics are alarming, and something has to be done until it is too late.

Overweight and obesity can be defined as excessive or abnormal fat accumulation which may impair health. The difference between the two can be made analyzing the body mass index, commonly used to classify whether a person is overweight (BMI over or equal 25) or obese (BMI over or equal 30).

According to World Health Organization statistics, in 2008 there were more than 1.4 million overweight adults, aged 20 and older. In 2011 more than 40 million children under 5 years old were overweight. Each year more than 2.8 million adults are killed by obesity, which is the fifth leading risk for worldwide deaths. If in 2012, 12% of the world’s population was considered obese, data also shows that by 2020 two out of three people will be affected by obesity.

The most obese countries in the world are the US, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Ireland, Chile, Nauru, Cook Islands, Egypt, South Africa and Iceland, but other countries are quickly joining the list.

If not so long ago, being overweight signified health and a high economic status, these days’ being overweight and obese means exactly the opposite: lower socio-economic status and poor health care.  Recent reports have showed that one-third of adults without high school diploma was obese, compared to one-fifth who graduated from college. One-third of adults earning under $15,000 annually were obese, compared to one-quarter of adults who earn over $50,000 annually. This reflects the fact that unhealthy food is cheap, and that obesity increases at an alarming pace in low and middle-income countries.

Overweight Obesity Causes

What causes overweight and obesity? 

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  • Eating more food than the body needs
  • Lack of exercise
  • Increased stress
  • Genetic problems
  • Eating fast food or processed products
  • Increased alcohol intake
  • Comfort eating (people depressed or with low self-esteem eat to feel better)
  • Medical reasons
  • Certain medication
  • Smoking (some people gain weight when they try to quit smoking)
  • Lack of sleep and stress

Overweight and obesity are the number one factors for cardiovascular diseases (stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease), musculoskeletal disorders (osteoarthritis), chronic diseases (type 2 diabetes) and several types of cancer (breast, colon, endometrial and gallbladder), breathing problems (sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome), reproductive problems, gallstones, among other conditions.

Some counties have already started several programs to encourage people to lose weight. Turkey is paying for weight loss surgery for eligible patients, Japan, not known as an obese country, has set a waste limit of  under36 inches for adults aged between 40 and 74. In the UAE, Dubai has taken the anti-obese program a step further, by offering those willing to lose weight a gram of gold for each kilogram lost. Participants in the Your Weight in Gold scheme, which took place last year during the Ramadan, had to lose at least two kilos to receive the gold payout.

Statistics show that in South Africa 61% of the population is overweight, obese or morbidly obese, while more than 30% were experiencing hunger. Unfortunately South Africans do not realize the danger they have put themselves into, as 78% of the obese people consider themselves as being healthy or very healthy and 74% of them consider their fellow citizens as overweight and not themselves.

Obesity Medical Tourism

How is Medical Tourism helping?

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Unfortunately, not all countries see the benefits of helping citizens lose weight and fight obesity. People know what it is to be done to lose weight, but with the hectic lives of the 21st century, they simply do not have time to cook healthy meals, money to buy them (eating healthy can be expensive), the necessary energy after a day at work to go to the gym or the ambition to follow a diet plan. In some cases (people with BMI over 40) the only solution is bariatric surgery, often not covered by insurance.

And so people are trapped in a vicious circle of being forced to buy unhealthy food (because it is cheap and fast) and not being able to afford bariatric surgery or not being available in their home countries. Sometimes the waiting lists for bariatric surgery are so long that people lose hope that they will ever get in the operating room.

Medical Tourism is the best option for those who want fast access to affordable and high quality bariatric surgery. Traveling to another country for medical care has proved to be more advantageous than having surgery in the home country. There are so many countries which have invested in the development of healthcare infrastructure, that many times it is hard to make a difference in quality between highly industrialized countries such as the US or Canada, and emerging markets such as India, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico or South Korea.

Benefits Obesity Procedures Abroad

Benefits of choosing Bariatric Medical Tourism

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  • Costs - patients can save up to 70% by choosing bariatric surgery in a foreign country, including the surgery, hospital, transportation, medication and aftercare costs. To make a comparison the price for gastric bypass surgery in the US is around $25,000, while in Mexico it is around $9,000, in India $9,000 and Turkey $14,000.
  • No waiting lists - sometimes the waiting lists for bariatric surgery make patients wait for years to have the procedure. Choosing to travel abroad the patient avoids the waiting-list impediment and has immediate access to the procedure he/she needs.
  • Access to modern bariatric surgery procedures - the days when only the high-industrialized countries had access to high-tech equipment are long gone. Now, emerging markets offer their patients accredited medical facilities, modern equipment, minimally invasive procedures, experienced medical staff and latest technological methods such as SGIT for Diabetic Obesity which is performed only by eight surgeons in the entire world, among which the US, India and Brazil.
  • Accreditation - many medical facilities have started to understand that accreditation is what gives patients confidence in choosing them. Turkey is the second country after the US with the most JCI accredited clinics and hospitals.
  • Experienced surgeons - many surgeons choose to have training in the US, Canada or Western Europe and then return home to put into practice what they have learned. In a way this standardizes the surgeons' training and give the patient the certitude that the methods available in his/her country are also available and well-known abroad.

Medical Tourism makes quality and affordable bariatric surgery available to anyone. Traveling abroad for medical care can be a pleasant and benefic experience, as long as the patient does a thorough research when choosing a certain country, clinic or surgeon. Before taking this decision make sure you get as much information as possible about the clinic's accreditation, the surgeons' credentials, the real cost of the treatment, real patient testimonials and ask a medical tourism company to help you in this matter.

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If you need more information about the best obesity clinics in the world and their highly successful methods and procedures, do not hesitate to contact us!

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by: Pramod Goel

2014-05-19 / Updated on: 2021-01-08

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