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Obesity is a systemic disease related to pathological increase of fat tissue in the body. Obesity and related diseases is an important health problem of modern civilization. Until not a long time ago it used to refer to wealthy developed countries, however today it's present in most societies of the world.

From the estimated data it seems that in 1995 there were almost 200 million adults with obesity and among children younger than 5 there were 18 million of the obese. In 2000 there were already 300 million of people diagnosed with obesity including 132 million in developed countries and 170 million in other regions of the world.

It was reported that in 2005 there were globally around 1,6 billion people aged below 15 who were obese and at least 400 million were considered overweight.

The WHO forecast for 2015 is alarming and estimates that around 2,3 billion adults are to be overweight and over 700 million are to suffer from obesity. The greatest increase is determined for less developed countries in their wealthier parts of society. Both obesity and extreme undernourishment are observed there.

Obesity is a chronic disease connected to increased storage of FAT tissue. So far, we don't know precisely its causes. However, what we know is the mechanism connected to positive energy balance, i.e. surplus of energy obtained from the food provided in relation to energy used by the body.

Increase of the fat weight, especially coeliac, is also an independent risk factor of heart and circulation disease development, as well as diabetes type 2, arterial hypertension, lipid disturbances and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Except from those listed, there might also appear other diseases which although not directly a life risk, might significantly influence its quality, e.g. degenerative changes of the joints or depression.

Decrease of the body mass brings to obese person a certain relief in terms of metabolism, endocrinology and psychology. In case of ineffective conservative obesity treatment including diet, change of life style, psychotherapy and drug therapy, one needs to consider surgery which is so far the most effective method of curing extreme obesity.

Negative energy balance obtained by surgery is caused by decreasing single food portions and often supported by the effect of defected absorption. Surgical treatment ensures much greater and long lasting body weight loss than conservative treatment.

After surgical treatment, together with body weight loss, patients often enjoy improvement of life quality and withdrawal or relief in connected diseases.

dr hab. n. med. Wojciech Lisik

Obesity and overweight. 2006. (Accessed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs311/en/.)

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