Obesity show, CBC Radio's White Coat, Black Art

Staff - cbc.ca - 08/17/2011
Body and Brain

Yo-yo dieters, listen up. You've got to make healthy living -- not just dieting -- part of your life. That's the idea behind a new initiative at CBC called Live Right Now. Beginning now and for the next six months, CBC radio, television and on line -- is talking about how Canadians can live a healthier lifestyle. We're playing our part to support this important project by rebroadcasting our show from last season about the health challenge that's at the root of Live Right Now: the growing problem of obesity.

Find out more about this episode and Live Right Now, after the jump...

Here's the swollen truth: one in four Canadians is obese. Factor in weight-related diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and cancer, and it's $4.3 billion per year in health care costs alone. The total cost society may be as much as $95 billion a year.

We've been stuck at dieting as the cure. But, a growing army of insurgent health professionals is rocking the medical establishment's view of obesity with a controversial paradigm shift. Out with the idea that weight gain is a lapse in character - heck, it's not even your fault. It's a disease. Like all diseases, it needs treatment, not lectures. There's even a new - non-judgmental language of obesity. No one is fat anymore. They have a large body mass index or BMI. Above 30 means you're obese. North of 40 and your life is on the line. Even the word 'weight' - as in weight loss clinic - has been replaced with the less pejorative sounding Greek-derived 'bariatric'.

We visit an Edmonton clinic led by Dr. Arya Sharma that puts you under the knife if you don't lose weight. Gastric sleeves, gastric bypass and lap banding are the names of three operations that help people lose a lot of weight. Claudia Farmer is in her early 40s. She's been fighting obesity since she was in kindergarten. Nearly two years ago, she took the drastic step of having a gastric sleeve, an operation is which 85% of her stomach was removed, and lost more than 65 kg in the process. We meet Dr. Daniel Birch, part of the team of surgeons who looked after Farmer.

Simon Moore is a 4th year med student at the University of British Columbia who did just that. He wants to be a family doctor. But first, he wanted to lose some weight. Actually, a lot of weight. We hear his personal journey from fat to fit.

We're also here to help launch Live Right Now and what you can look forward to. Visit Live Right Now where you can join The Million Pound Challenge, which encourages Canadians to lose weight.

And, on January 3rd, catch the first episode of Village on a Diet, on CBC Television, as a team of health experts tries to turn the people of Taylor BC from pudgy to sleek and healthy. Village on a Diet debuts Monday January 3rd at 9 pm (9:30 in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador) on CBC Television. And start living healthy.

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