Global issue of obesity possible opportunity for medical tourism

Obesity is a growing problem that offers opportunities for medical tourism. European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) says obesity will affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030.

Although obesity is a growing global problem and a crisis in parts of Europe, USA and the Middle East- medical tourism has been relatively reluctant to offer surgery or treatment.

Cosmetic surgery is a booming area, but clinics and hospitals seem keener to promote this than the health threatening obesity problems. Perhaps it is simply sexier to advertise cosmetic surgery that makes patients look better, than obesity services that can save or lengthen lives.

The leading organisation responsible for research into obesity in Europe has warned that unless something is quickly done to tackle the region’s rising obesity epidemic, it is going to have a devastating effect on healthcare costs.

The warning, from the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), comes in the wake of several reports showing that obesity and weight problems continue to increase at an alarming rate and will affect more than half of all European citizens by 2030. In some countries it may be as high as 90%.

According to the World Health Organisation, obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. Its prevalence has tripled in many countries in Europe since the 1980s.It is now costing European countries more than €70 billion in healthcare and lost productivity.

Recent reports in the medical journal The Lancet highlight the sheer magnitude of the global obesity epidemic and a consequent huge rise in type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, and liver disease are all dangers that overweight and obesity can help cause.

Professor Hermann Toplak of EASO comments, “Obesity is a complex and chronic disease with numerous causes, many of which are beyond an individual’s control. The causes can range from genetic and endocrine conditions to environmental factors, such as stress, diet and increasingly sedentary working patterns. A healthier lifestyle, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity can help maintain a normal weight. Obesity is a chronic disease and should be recognised and treated as such.”