A lifeline for those living with obesity

Obesity is much more complex than just what you eat and how much you move. Obesity is a medical condition similar to diabetes or high blood pressure that is recognized by the Canadian Medical Association as a chronic disease. The number of people living with obesity is climbing in Nova Scotia, with more than one third of Nova Scotians now classified as obese, creating an increased demand for bariatric surgery.

The current bariatric surgery offered at the QEII is known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy; however, surgery is only one part of the program. The program involves education, mentoring, lifestyle behavior change, and chronic disease management with patient’s pre-surgery. This approach supports long-term success.

Before surgery, patients work with the bariatric surgery team to prepare for surgery and to create behavior changes, helping to ensure long-term weight loss success post-surgery. The team helps patients focus on enhancing chronic disease management, along with lifestyle and behavior changes by focusing on health improvement. They encourage consistent and continued individual participation and address realistic expectations and they also focus on their eating and lifestyle routines, such as when and where to eat and look for ways to promote engagement in physical activity. Food addictions, family challenges, and emotional eating routines are examples of other areas of focus.

“We’ve learned if you are morbidly obese, your outcomes are radically better with weight loss surgery when combined with optimal medical care and behavior modification,” Dr. Ellsmere, surgeon and program director, says. “The multidisciplinary approach is so important. Surgery is a small part of the overall treatment, but it’s a key cog.” Between 60 and 70 surgeries are performed each year, but ideally, Dr. Ellsmere says up to 300 surgeries per year would be performed at the QEII with improved resources.

“The community of resources the clinic needs are substantial,” Dr. Ellsmere says. “With events like Strides for Obesity we’re looking to raise awareness because there are a lot of misconceptions out there still, but we’re also raising money for those resources, so we can expand the clinic and help more people.”

But this life-changing surgery is something people suffering with obesity have to wait for in Nova Scotia as the current wait time for bariatric surgery is on average seven years, the longest wait time in Canada.

Support individuals struggling with obesity to achieve better health and quality of life by participating in Strides for Obesity, a 3K walk or run, and experience the beautiful view along the Halifax waterfront.

Event Details

Saturday, October 13th, 2018
8 a.m. | Participants meet in front of the Halifax Convention Centre on Argyle Street
Registration: $30

Learn more or donate by visiting StridesforObesity.ca and follow us on Facebook at Strides for Obesity

To learn more, please contact Caroline Simpson by phone at 902 442 7145 or via email at Caroline.Simpson@qe2foundation.ca.



The QEII Foundation inspires generosity to advance health care at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. With financial support from all levels of the community, the Foundation helps fund new technologies, research, innovation and education that contribute to life-changing moments experienced every day by patients and their loved ones.



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