Originally created 11/16/02

Advises against surgery for obesity

In regard to The Chronicle news article concerning obese children, I have to differ with the thoughts of surgery being a viable option. This opinion comes from firsthand experience, having been an overweight child and having a family member who had this surgery.

When I was 13, I weighed 210 pounds, was a size 22-24 and was about 5 feet 3 inches tall. I, too, was tired of being made fun of. But I did something about it. I learned to eat healthfully and exercise.

The weight came off - about 62 pounds. I only gained weight back after being on doctor-prescribed steroids for an allergy condition. Now that I am off the steroids, watching what I eat and doing yoga twice a week, the weight is coming back off. I am 25 now. I also have several family members who are 40 pounds or more overweight.

The majority of the time, the issue is about self control. I guarantee you that if most of the candidates for this surgery ate only a cupful of food every few hours and cut out sugar, all of them would lose weight without this extreme procedure.

As to the side effects of this surgery, my aunt had this surgery and she is now on total disability from multiple problems that mysteriously developed after her surgery, which was considered successful. It is very likely the problems developed from the inability to absorb some nutrients, as the article itself mentioned.

She has problems getting around and is in a wheelchair almost full time now. Before the surgery, she was healthy with the exception of her weight. No more.

This surgery seems to me an excuse for not controlling one's eating habits and lifestyle. It is not fun, nor is it always easy when you have a slower metabolism. But what is one's life and mental health worth?

I, for one, am glad to forgo the cheeseburgers and fries for pretty skin, shiny hair, great energy, a smaller size and for good health, too. I suggest to all who are considering this procedure to pray and think twice...

Sarah A. Brewer, Augusta


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