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 and is recognized by the Canadian Medical Association as a chronic disease. The number of people living with obesity is still climbing in Nova Scotia, with more than one third of Nova Scotians now classified as obese, creating an increased demand for bariatric surgery.

There is a considerable wait bariatric surgery, known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, but there is much more to the procedure than the actual surgery. The program involves education, mentoring, lifestyle behavior change, and chronic disease management with patients pre-surgery. This time and effort is necessary to support 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. Patients work to determine sources of their obesity, such as easy access to quick, high calorie foods, fast foods and convenience foods. They also focus on their eating and lifestyle routines, such as when and where they eat and whether or not they are engaging in physical activity. Food addictions, family challenges and emotional eating routines are examples of other areas of focus. 

“We’ve learned that by far and away if you’re 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.

“The community of resources the clinic needs is 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.”

Support individuals struggling with obesity to achieve better health by participating in Strides for Obesity, a 3K walk in beautiful south end Halifax. Register today.

Event Details

Saturday, October 14, 2017
10 a.m.  |  Participants meet at Victoria Park to complete 3-kilometre walk
Registration: $25

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



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