There’s no denying that obesity ranks among the top three health issues confronting the Kingdom today. A new weight loss initiative by Royal Bahrain Hospital offers a last resort for the dangerously obese.
Bahrain has its fair share of the obese and overweight population, but none are more at risk than people whose Body Mass Index is 40 or higher, a condition that is termed ‘potentially life threatening’ by doctors.
“Shrink your Waist, Grow your Health” is a weight loss project launched by Royal Bahrain Hospital (RBH) to specifically address this particular segment. Under the initiative, RBH will bring top Italian surgeons to the Kingdom, where they will be available for consultation and weight loss surgeries on a regular basis.
“Through careful study of the GCC needs, we realised that obesity is a major social health issue that RBH, as a medical facility, should tackle,” says Ravi Preet, chief operating officer at RBH.
The Italian team comprises Dr Emanuele Smrekar, a general surgeon and oncologist who specialises in bariatric surgery and Dr Giovanni Battista Ferrando a cosmetic, plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
Bariatric surgery mainly involves either a gastric binding or a gastric bypass procedure. With a gastric bypass, the stomach is made much smaller causing it to fill up with small quantities of food, which means that the body absorbs fewer calories.
Gastric banding involves fitting a band around the top of the stomach, which causes a feeling of fullness even with small amounts of food.
Both surgeries are designed to be permanent, but only patients with life-threatening obesity, that is, those with a body mass index of over 40, are eligible for these procedures.
Also part of the new weight loss project is RBH nutrition therapist and dietician Nada Jawahery who will assist in the recovery process, ensuring that patients follow the right diet and alter their nutrition practices after the surgery.
CFar Medicals, an international medical recruiting and services provider, is bringing the Italian surgeons to Bahrain.
The project was launched on February 21 with an open house, inviting patients to walk
in for a health check-up and pose queries to doctors and dieticians before they register
for treatment. The initiative has twin objectives, notes Haifa Naseeb, spokesperson for the project at RBH.
“The first is to encourage weight loss as a solution not only to obesity, but for resolving all obesity-related diseases.
Secondly, we understand that only patients with a BMI of 40 and above are eligible for weight loss surgery.
Thus, we hope to encourage people who fall in the BMI range of 30 and above to adapt lifestyle changes and improve their health,” she says.