The World Health Organization considers obesity to be a global epidemic and a major public health problem, with an estimated 250 million obese adults worldwide, and with many more being overweight.
Obesity is a serious, chronic disease that affects people of all ages and genders. It is also a very common condition in the Middle East and is often linked to other serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes - 90 per cent of severely obese people are diabetic. For the very obese, medical treatment is ineffective; 95 per cent will regain their excess weight after two years, even after adopting a weight management program.
Two surgical procedures to treat obesity - gastric banding and gastric bypass - provide alternatives for patients in the Middle East and are often the only resort for very obese patients, who may also face other health complications as a result of their condition and for whom these procedures can offer a much improved quality of life.
Gastric banding can result in a loss of more than 50 per cent of the patient's excess weight, while the gastric bypass procedure can result in the loss of two thirds of the excess weight.