Quality information for people with weight management issues

Last week, we delivered our first information session for patients considering surgical options.  It is hard enough to get high quality, reliable information to assist you in making decisions about your health in the best of circumstances.  Well-meaning, but largely uninformed, individuals are always more than happy to weigh-in to the debate with secondhand anecdotes that refute the weight of scientific evidence, even though they may not strictly be true.

These individuals usually do this because they have your interests at heart, but what if this wasn’t the case?  There are many stakeholders in the weight management debate, and many of them do not have patient interests as a sole, or even primary, goal.  Corporate entities within the food, exercise, and medical device and pharmaceutical industries all contribute to the public debate about obesity, and all of them have powerful political influence and the ability to saturate the mass media and the internet with their messages.  Sometimes, these may distort patients’ perceptions of what is best.

So, how do you navigate through this minefield of information to make a decision that is relevant to your own particular situation?  Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, but you need to talk to a lot of people and do a lot of listening.  Talk to a surgeon who performs weight loss surgery within a bariatric surgery unit, or a recognised centre of excellence.  These surgeons hold each other to account, and examine each other’s complications critically, so that they can all learn from each individual’s experience.  Talk to a dietician who specialises in weight loss and weight maintenance.  He or she will have years of experience in this area, which translates to a wider scope of weight management  advice for patients.  Finally, talk to people who have tried different means of weight loss and maintenance, both surgical and non-surgical.

Through these information sessions and through the forum and contact pages on this website, we hope to provide the information that you need to come to the right decision for your circumstances.  Remember, the solution for your individual needs is what matters most.