Y’all are getting fat. Maybe go easy on the Latkes this hannuka? We’ve got enough people trying to kill us. No need to do it for them.
The number of Israelis resorting to these drastic measures is climbing into the hundreds per year. But that is just the tip of the iceberg that is this country’s growing obesity epidemic. Fully 40 percent of adults are overweight, according to Health Ministry statistics, while another 23% are obese. Thousands are classified as morbidly obese or even superobese. Worse, these numbers are rising.
What this means is nothing short of an emergency. Research shows a clear link between obesity and a wide range of health problems, with significant increases in the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke, diabetes, certain cancers (e.g. breast cancer and intestinal cancer), osteoarthritis, breathing problems and more. The strain that this puts on the public health system and the economy is immense: NIS 10 billion or more per year in direct costs of treatment and indirect costs from sick days and lack of production, according to various estimates.
Of course, the human costs are tremendous.
Indeed, researchers in Europe and the US have found that obesity can shorten life by as many as 13 years.
They are also unlike surgery for “normal” people. Treating morbidly obese patients entails unique circumstances.
“It can be difficult to sedate them,” says Abu Abeid. “Sometimes the patients are so large that we need two operating tables just to hold them.”