Wisconsinites Fighting Obesity Via Gastric Bypass Surgery

A new University of Wisconsin study shows that the number of gastric bypass surgeries in the state more than doubled from 2001 to 2002.

The growth in popularity is apparently in line with the growth of our waistlines, the study says.

And people who have undergone the surgery say it has changed their lives.

One of them, Joe Baldwin, lost 170 pounds.

“It’s awful nice to get up in the morning and not have to take blood pressure meds or diabetes meds,” he told News 3.

The surgery seemed to offer his only hope.

“I’d go on a diet and lose 50 pounds and put back on 75,” he said.

His weight problem is part of a statewide trend. The number of obese adults in Wisconsin doubled from 11 to 22 percent in nine years, the study says.

One area doctor told News 3 that there is an increasing awareness of the fact that obesity is a disease. It causes a lot of medical problems. Those problems will be treated with or cured with weight loss — and that is what has spurred demand for the surgery.

Some obese celebrities, including singer Carnie Wilson, have successfully undergone the surgery amid a lot of publicity. In the process they have also helped popularize it as a solution to chronic weight problems.

But doctors say they are reluctant to perform the surgery unless there is a medical condition caused by a candidate’s obesity. In 1999-2001, Wisconsin had approximately 80,000 morbidly obese residents. A woman whose height is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 250 pounds is considered obese, as is a 5-foot-11-inch tall man who weighs 290 pounds, according to state health officials.

The procedure costs between $20,000 and $30,000, according to Wisconsin Medical Society figures. ( Read More )

Are you a candidate? For more information about this surgery, go to the Meriter Web site or call (608) 287-2100 for a program information packet and a health-screening questionnaire.