I was at a dinner recently and got to talking with a specialist who works in a hospital's cancer management unit.
We were talking about weight-loss and I was told that the risk for some cancers due to obesity were similar to the risk from tobacco smoking. In particular, here in Australia they were experiencing increasing incidences of ovarian cancer (the "silent killer") in obese women and it was increasingly likely that a key factor was the abnormal levels of estrogen stored in fat cells (and subsequently released into the body).
It is something that GPs are being educated about and, so the specialist hopes, doctors will become more insistent on passing on the information to their obese patients.
Another key problem they are encountering in hospitals affecting obese patients of both genders is that the level of patient care and the ratio of successful treatment is lower for obese people. Simple things like finding a vein to put in a transfusion can be difficult and risky. Operations, especially under general anesthesia have a much higher risk of complications and death.
Other medical issues they have seen can be alleviated only by weight-loss, but obese patients erroneously believe drugs are the only solution. For example, a typical 150 Kilo patient with a bad spine, crushed discs and blood circulation problems (not uncommon!) would certainly be much better off at normal weight but will often choose not to lose it, instead deciding to opt for risky surgery and drug treatment.
Needless to say, the specialist expressed a great deal of frustration regarding obesity and the unnecessary strain it places on the hospital system, and how their colleagues are often ignored when they plead with their patients to lose weight for their own good.
It was an absolutely fascinating and enlightening conversation with someone who works with obese people in a medical environment, and a few more reasons for me to never again reach the morbid obesity range.