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TO: Chicago Image


RE: Bylined Article

DATE: November 11, 2004


by Michael S. Romberg, M.D., F.A.C.S.

“I can’t do it!” Mary bursts out as she manages to take a breath. A slight jog is just too taxing for this 28-year-old mother of two whose intentions to lose weight always hit a dead end. Her frustration with her weight triggers her to indulge, and thus starts the vicious cycle all over again. Mary and 127 million other Americans are considered overweight, and one out of five adults is obese – 80-100+ pounds overweight. A staggering 300,000 deaths each year can be linked to obesity, and healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $100 billion.

“Excuse me, passing through!” Tom exclaims as he pushes his way through the narrow aisles in the movie theatre. Beads of sweat are visible as he finally settles down in the not-so-comfortable movie chair. Tom, single, 32 years of age and 290 pounds, is a computer engineer who spends all day in front of the computer, eating out almost daily. Exercise and health issues have taken a back seat in this goal-oriented professional’s life. Like many of us, Tom thinks about weight control, but there just isn’t enough time in his busy day for diet and exercise.

People turn heads and cock an ear to the commotion at an airport sales ticket window. “What do you mean I have to pay double?” Bridget argues defiantly with the ticket sales person. Bridget, 45 years of age, has never been able to fly the friendly skies without a hitch because of her weight – about 370 pounds. With limited space on airplanes, there are no special considerations given for people who are overweight. In fact, they are often required to pay double, as occupancy allows. One can only imagine the humiliation…people snickering and criticizing. One thing is for sure: weighing 200, 100 or even 50 pounds over your ideal weight just doesn’t feel right.

Standards of daily living are very limited, even oppressing at times. You are at risk for numerous health problems because of obesity. This is not a simple condition of eating too much.

Obesity is a serious, chronic disease. There are several different types of effective treatment options to manage weight including dietary therapy, physical activity, behavior therapy, drug therapy, and surgery.

No one option is effective alone, but together in a comprehensive program, the pounds can be shed. Not only does the weight come off, but the side effects of obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia, and heart disease, also show significant improvement.

With the promotion of realistic expectations, the emerging success of surgery has provided patients with the most effective procedures, therapies and programs for long-term weight loss, health and well-being. Results show more than “pounds lost,” but a brighter quality of life.

Seek out a multi-faceted approach to weight loss that includes medically supervised interventions, education, behavioral modification strategies, and a comprehensive pre- and post-surgical program for nutritional, physical and psychological support to ensure long-term patient success.

No one can guarantee weight loss.

No one program will work for everyone.

Millions of dollars have been spent in the hope of sustained weight loss.

Surgery options are out there. Is this the right choice for you?

Michael S. Romberg, M.D., F.A.C.S., is a bariatric surgeon with the Centers for Obesity Related Illness (CORI; CORI has established weight loss Centers of Excellence in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Florida. ###

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