B2 Reading Multiple Choice Exam 4
Obesity is a medical condition in which a person is so fat that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and increased health problems. People are considered obese when their body mass index, (BMI), which is a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height, exceeds 30 kg/m2. It increases the likelihood of various diseases, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
The problem is that obesity rates are going through the roof all over the world. As of 2008, The World Health Organization claimed that 1.5 billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight and of these over 200 million men and nearly 300 million women were obese. The rate of obesity also increases with age at least up to 50 or 60 years old. The top five countries with the highest obesity rates are Mexico in the lead, followed by The United States, The United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Once considered to be a problem only of high-income countries, obesity rates are rising worldwide. These increases have been felt most dramatically in urban settings. The only remaining region of the world where obesity is not common is sub-Saharan Africa.
An American, 43 years old Walter Hudson, weighed 600 kg and spent 28 years in bed. One day Walter fell out of bed and was stuck on the floor until the fire brigade came to help him up. He explained that as long as he lay in bed, his size didn't bother him. But this incident resulted in a complete turn-around, and he cut his weight back from 600 kg to just 300 kg. He set up a hotline to his home, and now spends a lot of time talking to fellow-sufferers. A true American, he has marketed his own brand of powdered food formula called "Bio-Nutrition".
In the US, obesity is considered to be an illness, and is treated accordingly, with surgery being the only solution. There have been different procedures over the years. Originally, an operation used to be performed which short-circuited the small bowel in order to prevent the absorption of fats. Weight was lost but some of the side-effects of the operation turned out to be fatal. In the second procedure, the stomach was stitched across, horizontally, so that only half of it could be used. The latest development, a gastroplasty operation, which is an alternative to surgery, is to have a balloon put in the stomach. There are 20,000 people in America walking around with balloons in their stomachs. The balloon is made of specially prepared rubber, is inflated in the stomach and left there for three months. The big danger is deflation and blockage of the bowels. Otherwise, it's like having permanently just eaten a ham sandwich.
Barbara Quelch has tried all the solutions. She was successful, the director of an advertising agency, the mother of four children and had weighed 140 kg. She had made several attempts to lose weight, even going to the lengths of having her jaws wired. But she found that when her jaws were unwired, she soon returned to her usual weight. Finally she had the gastroplasty operation and lost weight within days. She could only take fluids for the first two months after the operation, and in the following five months, lost three kg a week. The stomach can stretch again, usually after three years, so it is important to eat small amounts of food, often. If this fails there is nothing else, so it is a last resort.