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Pro/Con: Is weight-loss surgery a healthy choice?

By Elena Watts
Sept. 29, 2013 at 4:29 a.m.


DID YOU KNOW?

• Nearly 17 percent of Texas children older than 2 and younger than 5 are overweight, while just more than 15 percent are obese.

• The percentages of overweight and obese adults in Texas are 66 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

• For adults, a person with a body mass index of 30 or greater is considered obese, and a BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight.

Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For better or worse, bariatric surgery has changed lives.

Popular methods include gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries, while banding surgery is performed infrequently in the Victoria area.

"Obesity is the problem, and we need to stop treating the symptoms," said general surgeon Dr. Craig Chang, who has offices in Victoria, Bay City and Corpus Christi. "We need to treat the root cause."

Symptoms of obesity include diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Weight-loss surgery is a way to treat obesity on an individual level, said Dan O'Connor, assistant professor with the University of Houston Texas Obesity Research Center.

Insurance companies typically cover surgeries for patients with body mass indexes of more than 40, even if they do not have health-related issues, Chang said. Body mass indexes between 35 and 40 with health-related issues are also typically covered.

Gastric bypass and gastric sleeve operations account for 95 percent of the 200 procedures Chang performs each year, and gastric banding operations make up the remainder.

Is bariatric surgery the answer?

Pro: Weight-loss procedure can relieve variety of health issues

Con: Victoria couple says surgery worsened health problems

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