Weight Watchers, the Atkins diet, low-carb, low-fat — Jerome Gordon tried them all.
“I had been on every kind of diet and weight-loss plan you could imagine,” he said. But they all failed.
The 52-year-old had battled the bulge his entire life, and although some diet plans would help him temporarily shed the pounds, they’d return with a vengeance — to the point that his weight was “completely out of control.”
Gordon was desperate, and far from alone.
In the United States, a record high 39.8 percent of adults are obese, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index — a measurement of body fat based on height and weight that’s often called BMI — equal to or greater than 30, and it’s classified by the American Medical Association as a disease. It is linked to numerous medical problems, including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, bone and joint diseases, certain cancers and lower life expectancy.
One type of bariatric surgery, known as sleeve gastrectomy, is a laparoscopic procedure that’s considered minimally invasive. It works by reducing stomach capacity and removing parts of the stomach that produce hunger-causing hormones so patients feel full sooner and less hungry overall.
Other bariatric procedures include gastric bypass surgery and the less-common gastric band.
Because of his BMI of 41.4, Gordon was a candidate for the gastric sleeve, but the thought of going under the knife terrified him.
“I knew people who’d had the procedure, and wondered if it was a good option, but kept thinking that I really didn’t want to do something that severe,” he said.