Parents can’t recognize childhood obesity for these reasons

childhood obesityWeight loss and obesity can be tough subjects to approach, since health and body image can carry significant emotional baggage for many of us. This is especially true when it comes to parents of obese children.

According to a recent study conducted by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and the UCL Institute of Child Health, the vast majority of parents underestimate the extent of their child’s obesity and are unable to recognize the need for intervention. Because parents are so likely to misperceive the weight of their children, it’s important to safeguard against these tendencies with an honest assessment of your child’s health.

“This is a very difficult and highly emotional topic for parents to face, much less discuss with a health care professional,” says Dr. Dirk. Still, he urges parents to address such issues objectively.

“When it comes to your child’s current and future health, it is important to put aside feelings and face facts. Parents may think their child’s obesity is a personal failure. It is best to approach the situation as a concerned parent providing the best care for their child.”

While weight loss isn’t all about numbers, the figures published in this study don’t lie. About one-third of parents featured in the study underestimated their children’s body mass index (BMI) in a simple classification that categorized kids as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese. While a total of 369 children studied were properly classified as obese, only four parents were able to recognize their own kids as such.

The problem, Dr. Dirk explains, is that childhood obesity often sets kids up for a lifetime of weight-loss and weight-related health struggles.

“Obese children go on to become obese teenagers and then become obese adults,” Dr. Dirk says. “Obesity in teenage years threatens obese adults with major medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea,” he cautions.

Obesity increases emotional and psychological risks, as well. “We can not ignore the difficulties of unkind social interactions between teenagers,” Dr. Dirk says. “It is well known that obese teenagers can be isolated and bullied to the point of exclusion.”

So what can we do to combat childhood obesity? First, parents must remember that obesity is a treatable condition and by no means represents a failure on their part.

“It is very important is for the parents to stay involved and view obesity as a medical condition that must be treated,” Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk, advises.

That means starting by taking the child to a doctor for a thorough physical examination and, possibly, blood tests and X-rays. Then the doctor will make recommendations, which may include nutrition counseling with a dietitian, therapy sessions with a nutrition counselor and possibly a referral to a specialist.

While broaching the subject of child obesity can seem daunting, the health benefits and overall improvement in quality of life for children struggling with weight-related issues are well worth the tough discussion. After all, kids should be kids—healthy and free to participate fully in the activities they love.


Bogus “Study” Proves How Easy It Is to Fake a Weight Loss Trend

fad dietHave you picked up a copy of Men’s Health or clicked on a Huffington Post article lately? Maybe you’ve heard the news: there’s a sweeter way to lose weight, and it’s published in the International Archives of Medicine, among other research journals. The claim? That chocolate may be used as a weight-loss accelerator.

Sound too good to be true? That’s because it is. The “research” that was included in a number of scientific journals and touted by notable health publications like Shape was fabricated precisely to prove just how easy it is to present questionable research as credible scientific truth. At least that experiment was a success.

“This study is important because it shows how ‘respectable’ outlets can be fooled into thinking that an article and its author are ‘reputable.’ Look at the outlets that were fooled because they didn’t do their homework,” Dr. Dirk says.

John Bohannan, who authored the bogus claim, actually carried out an experiment and published the results, posing as knowledgeable weight-loss expert John Bohannon, PhD. “It was, in fact, a fairly typical study for the field of diet research,” Bohannon writes. “Which is to say: It was terrible science. The results are meaningless, and the health claims that the media blasted out to millions of people around the world are utterly unfounded… The study design is a recipe for false positives.”

Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk,  agrees. “There are a lot of ‘experts’ out there that call themselves experts, but have no idea what they’re talking about,” he says.

So how to navigate the murky waters of weight-loss reporting? Luckily, there’s hope.

“Nutrition and the nutrition related to weight loss has been made really complicated when it is really simple,” Dr. Dirk says. “If something does not seem right to you, if it does not make sense, it’s not going to work.”

The best advice is tried and true: a healthy diet that’s high in protein and low in carbs, combined with consistent aerobic exercise. It may not make sensational headlines, but it will make a difference in your waistline and health.


The Connection Between Obesity and Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaIt’s no secret that obesity can wreak havoc on your health. Outside of predispositions toward diseases like diabetes and hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea in adults is most commonly caused by excess weight. Sleep apnea is on the rise in the United States, and outside of causing poor sleep quality, it can put sufferers at risk for further health complications. Fortunately, there is often a treatment for sleep apnea that coincides with obesity: weight loss.

Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder, and even more so now that the majority of Americans are either overweight or obese. The disorder causes sufferers to stop breathing for periods of time in their sleep, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Sleep apnea is often accompanied by fatigue and sleepiness during the day, and loud, constant snoring at night. If you are both obese and experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Studies also show that sleep apnea and the associated fatigue that comes along with it can reduce your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. When you’re tired and cranky, you’re much less likely to go to the gym and cook dinner instead of pulling through a fast food drive-thru and watching Netflix on the couch all night. If you have a predisposition toward or diagnosis of diabetes, sleep apnea may also exacerbate this condition.

When you lose weight, you remove pressure on your airways and make it easier for your body to breathe. By reducing the weight of tissue surrounding the airways, the lungs are able to more effectively provide oxygen to the rest of your body. Even a small weight loss—10% of your body mass—can result in improved sleep apnea symptoms. For severe sufferers, a combination of weight loss and assisted breathing devices may be needed to fully treat the condition.

Not everyone who is obese has sleep apnea, but those with obesity are much more at risk of developing the disorder than people at a healthy weight. According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies show that bariatric surgery can have a positive effect on sleep apnea, often to the point of resolving it altogether. Data shows that bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, and at least 80% of patients enter sleep apnea remission once they have lost enough weight.

If you experience sleep apnea and the associated side effects, Dr. Dirk may be able to help you get your restful nights back, along with a host of other positive benefits for your health. Even if you don’t think that sleep apnea is causing problems in your life, it is likely wreaking havoc that your body will pay for later.


Is Dr. Dirk’s Executive Express Program Right For You?

Executive Express ProgramIf you’re considering undergoing weight loss surgery to improve your health and your life, you’ll need to choose the operation that will balance the demands of your busy life and what’s best for your health. Dr. Dirk has a lot of bariatric surgery experience helping patients find the surgery that will help them live their best healthy lives with little interruption to their work schedule, and he’s tailored an easy-to-follow program to meet each patient’s personal needs.

Dr. Dirk’s Executive Express Program, one of the few of its kind in the industry, allows on-the-go professionals to have weight loss surgery without disrupting their daily lives. As a busy surgeon with over 10,000 weight loss operations under his belt, Dr. Dirk understands the pressure to get back to work after surgery, which why he was inspired to develop the Executive Express Program. He wants to help you change your life without the need to spend countless days in a hospital or to lose precious work time, sick leave or vacation time.

The Executive Express Program can have patients back to work in less than a week—and some patients may be back at work only three days after surgery. If you’ve been thinking about weight loss surgery, ask yourself these three questions.

1. Do you need to keep up with a younger, healthier workforce?

If you work in a demanding industry like sales or consulting, keeping up with the new batch of college grads that joins the workforce every year can be really tough, especially if you’re struggling with your weight. Our Executive Express Program can help you get into the best shape of your life, and you won’t have to take off too much time from your busy work schedule to have life-changing surgery.

2. Are you a busy professional for whom extended downtime just isn’t a possibility?

Most people think that bariatric surgery is something that keeps a patient in recovery for months. With Dr. Dirk’s Executive Express Program, you could potentially be back to work in three or four days. Imagine having surgery on a Thursday or Friday and being back to work on Monday. Dr. Dirk also offers bariatric surgery procedure consultations via Skype or other virtual conferencing software, meaning that he can keep tabs on your progress while you’re still out closing deals.

3. Are you ready to change your health, your life and your professional opportunities?

Only qualified patients are accepted into Dr. Dirk’s Executive Express Program. Busy C-suite executives, managers, business owners and anyone who wants to portray an appearance of health, vigor and youth and are ready to make a monumental change in their physical health are admitted into this exclusive program. Dr. Dirk will tailor his approach directly to the demands of your schedule and lifestyle. If you’re not ready to make a big change on the fast track, this program probably isn’t for you.

Dr. Dirk and Nobilis Health Corp offer a variety of weight loss surgery options that can fit any lifestyle, including those among us who are just too busy to commit months and hours to a surgery that their body desperately needs. Different financing plans are available to patients. The Executive Express Program allows busy candidates to access all the health benefits of weight loss surgery without taking a major time hit in their professional lives.

Still have questions about weight loss surgery? Learn more from Dr. Dirk here.


The Rise of Obesity in the Hispanic Population

Hispanic Obesity

The obesity crisis is an epidemic that impacts people of all races, religions, ages and geographical locations, but there are some populations that are at a higher risk of developing this deadly disease. Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States are rapidly becoming the group of Americans hardest hit by obesity.

Data from the Office Of Minority Health suggests that at least 30% of Latinos and Hispanics overall are morbidly obese, and 78% of Mexican-American women are overweight or obese. The same is also true for Hispanic children, who are nearly two times more likely than white children to become obese. Even worse, the data indicates that 81% of Hispanic men surveyed in 2011 were obese or overweight.

Dr. Dirk likes to say that obese folks are both overnourished and undernourished at the same time—they have excess of calories and a deficit of nutrition. In addition to obesity, Latinos and Hispanics are also disproportionately likely to suffer from malnutrition, even if they’re eating an enormous amount of calories each day. The prevalence of fast food and other high-calorie, low-nutrient options is bigger than ever, and Latinos and Hispanics often have to seek out healthy options (of which there are few) at the drive-through on their way home from work.

With obesity levels this staggering, obesity is a growing concern for Hispanics and Latinos who are trying to stay healthy enough to work, raise their families and live happy lives. It can be difficult to work toward a healthy lifestyle when your family is constantly on the go, but it is crucial that Hispanics recognize the importance of eating healthy, exercising, and when necessary, weight loss surgery.

In conjunction with a healthy diet and physical activity, weight loss surgery can treat a range of weight-related conditions, including diabetes. People of Hispanic and Latino descent are at an extremely high risk of developing diabetes, especially Type II diabetes. Factors ranging from poor diet to work stress influence this risk, but weight loss surgery can be extremely successful in treating diabetes.

Dr. Dirk often feels sad that the Hispanic community does not embrace obesity surgery, which can potentially be life-saving. Any fear of surgery should be replaced by the fear of disability from diabetes and high blood pressure—not to mention sleep apnea, acid reflux, high cholesterol, joint pain, back pain and erectile dysfunction. Treating obesity at a younger age gives patients the chance to live a longer, healthier life without the worry and cost of doctor’s visits, medicines and blood tests.

As one of the few bilingual bariatric surgeons in Dallas, Dr. Dirk has a unique understanding of the health needs of the Hispanic community. He’s passionate about working within his own community to help people live their best, healthiest lives possible. If you’re ready to shed the weight and move toward a healthier lifestyle, there’s no one better to ask for help than Dr. Dirk.

If bariatric surgery is the best option for your health, Dr. Dirk can help you build a manageable plan that results in weight loss and, potentially, a longer and happier life. Living better doesn’t mean giving up all the things you love, especially when you’ve got an expert like Dr. Dirk in your corner.

Still have questions about weight loss surgery? Learn more from Dr. Dirk here.


Obesity Surgery Procedures Part I: Lap-Band

Obesity operations are different

All weight loss operations are not equal and work differently. Anyone that tells you all obesity operations are the same, you have my permission to tell them blow it out their ear!  In this, and the next 3 blogs, I will make clear how the operations work and how they are different.  I kindly ask that all the Lap Band lovers out there not send me hate mail.

•Everything here is based on the most current obesity surgery science, as well as the latest science coming in the last 3-5 years and my 15 years experience as an obesity surgeon.
Lap Band® – Or any other name that ends in band. An adjustable silicone band is stitched in to place at the very top of the stomach with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. The band makes you full quickly. With good nutrition and daily aerobic exercise, you lose weight.

It’s adjustable so as you lose weight there’s more room for food, then the band is tightened. If it is too tight, it’s loosened. Adjusting the band is done by injecting medical salt water (called saline) in to it. Yup, a needle is poked through the skin in to a port, every time it needs to be adjusted.

What the band will do;
•Make you full quickly – ¼ cup to ½ cup of food.
•Make you vomit when you over eat.
That’s it. Just like the old stomach stapling.

losing weight with a lap bandWhat the band will not do;
•Regardless of what folks say on message boards on the internet, it has no magical qualities.
•Stop you from eating cookies, chips, candy, soda, fast food drinking soda, beer or wine.
•Make you exercise.
•Take away hunger – this will make band lovers howl.
The band does not change how the stomach works except make you full quicker – period. The stomach below the band is a normal stomach, when it is empty it will tell you, you are hungry!
•Create powerful hormone changes that revs up your metabolism. This happens with the Sleeve, Bypass and Switch.
People tell me they like the band because it’s reversible. Good idea, but when the band is taken out, people go back to obesity. Is that really what you want? After all that trouble and all that money, you want to be back to square one?

Is the band a bad operation?
No, its just OK, there are much better ones, depending on the result you want.  The band will not get rid of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure or GERD.

Who gets the best results with the band?
• Folks younger than 40.
BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 50.
•Don’t have diabetes or high blood pressure.
•Will do aerobic exercise – hitting the remote or going to work does not count – unless of course your job  is digging a ditch from New York to Los Angeles with a shovel!
What band lovers do not tell you about the band;
•It has a 75% failure rate. That means 75% of folks do not lose a significant amount of weight(
get their BMI less than 35).
•The band fills or adjustments happen more often than just once a month – that means a visit to the doctors office, losing time off work. Oh yeah and getting a needle stuck in to you every time.
•The band can slip, move, stretch your food pipe, block your food pipe, be too tight, give you
acid reflux, get infected or worse erode in to your stomach .
•Anybody with a band will need repeat operations anywhere from 1%-30% to fix anything that
goes wrong with the band.
•Lap band can be safely converted to other bariatric operations with laparoscopic surgery.

Truthfully, the band is just an OK operation. I have seen it work best on young patients with less
weight to lose. I am happy to place a band on any patient as long as they give me the chance to
share this information with them.


Surgery is the answer for obesity-related illnesses

Weight loss Surgery is drastic.

I am stunned when I encounter supposedly educated people (yes I am talking doctors here) tell me weight loss surgery is drastic.  In my other blogs I have written about the tons of science that have proven the safety and efficacy of surgery compared to diets or pills. Google it and 1000 pages come up, go read it.  I love when these doctors tell me that weight loss surgery is drastic, but heart surgery is not.  “Oh, that is different”.

When I point out that
•Many types of Obesity surgery gets rid of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and high cholesterol which areobesity surgery dallas all the risk factors that go hand in hand with heart disease, which will need heart surgery, they say, “You can avoid obesity, you can’t avoid heart disease”(with a harrumpf, puff,puff & sigh). What?
•Obesity surgery will get rid of diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, memory deficits,  and high cholesterol, which means you will avoid heart disease, which will avoid the need for heart surgery, but obesity surgery is drastic? What planet do you come from? Or is the tin foil hat you are wearing really helping you fight off alien mind control?  “Obesity surgery is too hard”.  Heart surgery, hip surgery, back surgery, cancer surgery are walks in the park?  “Weight loss surgery makes the weight loss too fast and that’s not healthy” Seriously?

Obesity surgery will:
•Get rid of sleep apnea in 30 days,
•Have acid reflux (GERD) gone in 2 months,
•Make diabetes disappear or easier to control in 3 months,
•Make blood pressure normal without medicine in 6 months and
•Get cholesterol back to normal in 1 year with obesity surgery.
This is too fast?

Because of these results the World Health Organization (WHO) is considering recommending obesity surgery (bypass, sleeve, switch) as the first line of treatment for Type 2 diabetes, regardless of insulin or oral treatment! Impossible! A surgery actually cures something!

Let me share 2 stories with you which I hope move you to be smarter than some of my colleagues.  A patients husband comes to my office. He is younger than 50 and the diabetes is causing bleeding in both his  retinas, threatening his eyesight- he expects to be blind in no time. He has the start of neuropathy (nerve damage caused by diabetes-one of the leading causes of amputation). His BMI is 35. I point out that obesity surgery can cure his diabetes or (make it much easier to control).

He is stunned. “None of my doctors ever told me this”. This is a young man, suffering the consequences of a crippling disease (usually associated with 60,70 & 80 year olds!) AND his doctors have not told him of an alternative and effective treatment that CAN GET RID OF DIABETES! Does anybody else feel their blood boiling?
A colleague of mine has witnessed me become an obesity surgeon. He has sent me his patients and seen results. He too is obese. He has suffered a heart attack. He has had heart surgery. Without my prompting him, he would say, “I gotta lose weight, but THAT surgery is not for me”.

Years go by and he develops type 2 diabetes so severe he needs an insulin pump surgically implanted. This doctor would suffer the ravages of heart disease and diabetes, instead of having a surgery that will take away the most significant medical conditions affecting the world today.

Thankfully, more doctors are better informed and have had my patients come back to them.  Each of my patients tell me how amazed their doctors are at how fast their health improved, at how fast they would be taking their patient off insulin and high blood pressure medication.  These doctors understand how drastic it is NOT to recommend obesity surgery to their patients.

An important message to all my colleagues;
-Obesity surgery works to treat obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure & high
cholesterol.

-Dr. Dirk


Ready to lose weight? Skip the New Year’s diets and face the facts

bariatric surgeon dallasIt is a new year. This is the typical time when everyone wants to lose weight and get healthier. I am designing a work out routine to make me look like Brad Pitt, George Clooney or LeBron James, haven’t
decided yet.

Everyone on January 1st steps on the scale and decide that they want to lose 1,050 pounds by February 1st. Or lose weight by May 15th-So they can get ready for Prom, I ask?  The question that creeps in is; Which diet plan that I have tried before and hasn’t worked will I do again?

Everyone wonders if bariatric surgery for weight loss is for them.  The science is in;
-Diets don’t work if you have more than 50 pounds to lose.
-Diets don’t work if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea.
– Pills only give temporary success (6 months or less) and have serious side effects.

There is no argument, obesity surgery works.

Everyone thinks that obesity surgery is drastic.  Here is drastic;
•Obesity is a medical condition that affects every part of our bodies. Obesity is not just about weight. It
makes existing medical conditions harder to treat or cure.
•The fat of obesity creates a negative environment for you immune system and all of your organs.
Obesity makes everything in your life more difficult.

Hard truth
–Obesity puts you at risk for stroke, heart attack and cancer. What is more drastic than that?
Powerful statement
Obesity surgery can cure diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and acid reflux. Imagine leaving
the hospital and not having any of these conditions. That has been the case for thousands of patients.

Here is a simple checklist to help you decide if weight loss surgery is for you. Any of these alone or in combination means bariatric surgery will work for you.
• BMI (Body Mass Index) 30 or higher – no matter how old you are.
•Age greater than 30
•High blood pressure
•Diabetes
•Sleep apnea- stop breathing when you sleep
•Acid reflux – also called GERD and acid reflux
•High cholesterol
•Diets have not worked to keep weight off you
•Diets have not gotten rid of diabetes, high blood pressure or sleep apnea

So now the question comes up;  OK, smarty pants doctor, which surgery is the best one for me?
The one that you and your obesity surgeon decide is the best one.  There is no one operation that fits everyone. But there are lots of good choices. All obesity operations are not the same and they each work differently for every patient.
-Lap Band – just an OK operation, not for everyone.
-Gastric Sleeve – great operation
-Gastric bypass – really great operation
-Duodenal switch – incredibly good operation

In the next blogs I will write about the different weight loss surgery operations how they work and how they compare. Visit my website to learn more.

-Dr. Dirk