The build up to this episode was strong. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery sent an email to their membership and posted it on their website. The Obesity Action Coalition posted it on their social media outlets. I posted the reminder on our social media sites.
Dr. Robin Blackstone as President of the ASMBS gives multiple interviews. She is, after all, an expert in the field of metabolic and bariatric surgery. She represents an organization of thousands of surgeons, nurses, dietitians, exercise physiologists, physical therapists and psychologists dedicated to the care and treatment of those with obesity and severe obesity.
When I first heard they were pulling the segment with Dr. Robin Blackstone and Melting Mama, I thought it was so they could dedicate an entire episode to bariatric and metabolic surgery and how it is a life saving treatment for so many. Instead we got a 60 minute long sensationalistic expose on practices those of us who are healthcare professionals working diligently to help those with obesity and severe obesity would never support!
Allow me to illustrate and elaborate on a few points your so called “reporting” missed.
1. There is no magic bullet, miracle discovery or new breakthrough cure for obesity.
2. Obesity is a life-long, multi-factorial, complex, chronic disease process that requires life-long, multi-factorial treatment by dedicated and experienced healthcare professionals.
3. Dobb-hoff tubes and tube feedings are for individuals who are either too sick or too malnourished to sustain their nutrient intake, it is not for weight loss.
4. Celebrities who represent various commercial weight loss programs have access to personal trainers, chefs, therapists and countless others in addition to the pre-packaged food provided while “on the program.”
5. Bariatric (weight loss) surgery is not only safe, it is life-saving when performed by experienced and skilled bariatric surgeons.
- There are criteria that must be met to have bariatric surgery.
- The criteria were established by the National Institute of Health in 1991.
- Comprehensive Center of Excellence programs include access to Certified Bariatric Nurses, Registered Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists and Psychologists or other Behavioral Health Experts.
- Laparoscopic bariatric surgery has been performed safely and effectively for over a decade.
- Hundreds of thousands of successful bariatric surgery patients are not only surviving, they are thriving. I am one of them.
- You interviewed one of them, Beth (AKA Melting Mama).
6. Instead of taking the opportunity to provide factual information from an expert on the most effective treatment we have at present for severe obesity and highlight the recent studies in the New England Journal of Medicine regarding how effectively bariatric surgery treats type 2 diabetes, you chose to “reveal” an expose on two surgeons. This story has been in the news for nearly a year.
I am completely disappointed, irritated and flat out disgusted at the so called “journalism” that went into this ABC 20/20 episode. They completely and totally missed the opportunity to focus on legitimate, successful medically [and surgically] appropriate treatment for obesity and severe obesity. Instead I felt like I was watching a rogue episode of Entertainment Tonight.
Not good ABC, not good-shame on you. ’20/20: Losing It: The Big Fat Trap’