Obesity treatments must be considered urgent, says Clinique Saint Jean
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Obesity treatments must be considered urgent, says Clinique Saint Jean

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The coronavirus pandemic postponed all non-urgent medical procedures, but the Clinique Saint Jean in Brussels says that shouldn’t include obesity treatments.

“Obesity or obesity is a complex chronic disease that cannot be corrected simply through diet and exercise. Obesity can cause patients to suffer from serious physical, psychological, and social problems,” Dr. Julien Mahieu and Dr. Maxime Mairiaux say.

They and others at Saint Jean’s are calling for surgical interventions related to obesity to be included among those considered essential, and not subject to postponement as a result of the corona crisis.

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In fact, the American Centre for Disease Control (CDC) says that having obesity increases the risk of severe illness from Covid-19, and may even triple the risk of hospitalization due to a Covid-19 infection. Obesity is especially prevalent in the United States.

Many of the specific medical treatments for obesity, such as gastric bypass surgery, are seen as “comfort surgeries,” say Drs. Mahieu and Mairiaux, and are therefore not currently permitted under coronavirus measures.

When these non-urgent procedures were postponed, dozens of patients with obesity could not have surgery. For more than half (54%) of them, the lockdown resulted in an increase in body weight. One in three persons lost weight, and 16% maintained a stable body weight.

Helen Lyons
The Brussels Times