Americans are fixated on losing weight. So much so, the process has spawned a successful network television show, and advertisements featuring “before” and “after” photos of people who have successfully lost large amounts of weight are sure attention-getters.

While the change in appearance is a motivating factor for weight loss, the health benefits of losing weight are far more important than obtaining a slimmer physique.

Obesity is quickly approaching tobacco as the top underlying preventable cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the medical costs of treating obesity-related diseases have doubled over the last decade, soaring as high as $147 billion in 2008.

Morbid obesity is closely correlated with a number of serious conditions that severely undermine the health of overweight patients, including heart disease, high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States. Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, while death rates due to heart disease, stroke, and cancer have declined. Studies indicate that 100 percent of patients with diabetes experienced some improvement in their condition following bariatric surgery, and for 82 percent the condition was resolved.

While bariatric surgery comes with risks, the risk of death from diabetes and other obesity-related conditions is far greater than the risk of surgery. Recent studies show that the risk of an early death for those struggling with obesity is twice that of a non-obese person.

To regain good health, obese patients should consider the range of surgical weight loss options available. At Foothills Weight Loss Specialists, we offer a range of surgical weight loss options, including gastric bypass, Realize adjustable gastric band, LAP-BAND®, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and the ROSE procedure.