Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2014, 1.9 billion adults aged 18 and over were overweight, and 600 million of them were obese. The figures are based on body mass index.
An adult with a BMI equal to or greater than 25 is overweight. A BMI of 30 and above indicates obesity.
Obesity rates are growing all around the world, from America to Europe, Saudi Arabia and China to Australia. Figures are staggering, especially in the United States. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than one third of the country’s adults (34.9% or 78.6 million individuals) are currently obese. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer. This is not only a public health issue, but an economic matter, as well. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008.
BIG INVESTMENTS IN SUPER-SIZE EQUIPMENT
To deal with this situation, hospitals and healthcare facilities have been adapting for years. In Indianapolis (U.S.), Franciscan St. Francis Hospital began to invest in bariatric equipment in 2002. The same year it opened a Weight Loss Center for its heaviest patients.
Rita Nevitt, Director of the Weight Loss Center described the evolution in outlook to MedicalExpo. “A couple of years ago, obesity was not recognized the way it is now. It was more focused on medical weight loss. Then bariatric surgery became more prominent and more expeditious as we moved to more refined surgery.”
The hospital invested a lot of money in specialized bariatric equipment. “Our MRIs have a bigger donut hole and a table with a higher weight limit. We also have different kinds of lifts that we can use to transport patients and that can go up to 450 kilos. We have longer needles to make injections, bariatric weight bearing wheelchairs that are located throughout the hospital, blood pressure cuffs with larger cylinder, wall-mounted toilets with support, etc. We also have bariatric trained nursing staff,” said Amy Gillard, Bariatric Coordinator at the Weight Loss Center.