When diet and exercise don't work

SINGAPORE - For people whose body mass index is above 40, losing weight the "normal way" does not work.

Dr Baladas Ganesan, a specialist general surgeon and consultant at Raffles Surgery Centre, says that for some of these patients, even something simple like tying shoelaces can be extremely difficult.

Dr Baladas says: "Only about 4 per cent of the severely obese lose weight using the conventional method."

Traditional Chinese medicine

Aimin Acupuncture Weight Loss Centre, which has two outlets, says that it has been treating at least 50 people with severe obesity in recent months.

Its method curbs appetite, say its practitioners. It also helps regulate blood pressure and diabetes.

Weight loss therapist Leong Min Juan says that most of her customers lose about 20-30kg after treatment.

Surgery

Dr Baladas says that surgery allows obese patients to lose up to two-thirds of their excess weight.

"The rest is all up to them and how they maintain their body," he says.

There are several surgical options including laparoscopic banding, in which a band is tied around the upper part of the stomach so the patient feels satisfied with a smaller amount of food.

Dr Baladas says that about 30 per cent of morbidly obese patients who are admitted to the hospital do not come for surgery despite being advised to do so, thinking the surgery to be cosmetic.

But he warns that obese people have a higher chance of getting diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, infertility, depression and even cancer.


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