Both adult and childhood obesity are serious problems that trouble the United States and Alabama in particular. In fact, in 2011, Alabama’s self-reported adult obesity rate was an astounding 32.0 percent. For adults, obesity is classified as having a body mass index higher than 30; thus, this statistic, which represents nearly one-third of Alabama residents, does not include overweight individuals (i.e., a BMI from 25 to 30), bringing the number of people who may ultimately face comorbid conditions that commonly present with obesity even higher.
In Tuscaloosa as in other Alabama cities, the problem often hits close to home. Because some risk factors for obesity correlate with genetics and learned behaviors, many families have multiple members who are suffering from obesity. Leaving obesity untreated can lead to gastrointestinal problems (e.g., GERD and colon cancer), heart problems (e.g., cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia), rheumatologic problems (e.g., osteoarthritis of the knee), changes in endocrinology, and a myriad of other complications. With so many serious consequences potentially stemming from obesity, it is no wonder that doctors and patients alike continue to search for effective ways to combat this epidemic.
If you live in Tuscaloosa or another part of the western, central region of Alabama, you could have a doctor perform an initial evaluation for bariatric surgery eligibility at such medical centers as Bryce Hospital, or DCH Regional Medical Center. You could also set up an appointment at a private practice, a facility in neighboring Birmingham, or—if you are a U.S. veteran—at one of the many VA hospitals in Alabama. Should the physician feel you are a candidate for surgery, be sure that the surgeon you ultimately select is board certified.