During recent years, obesity has emerged as a major public health problem and is second to smoking as a leading cause of preventable, premature death in the United States and the Western World. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is a growing epidemic of obesity throughout most of the developed and developing world. The prevalence of obesity in Canada has increased from 5.6% in 1985 to 14.8% in 1998. Morbid obesity is independently associated with an increased risk for mortality and increased physical and psychological dysfunction. The associations between morbid obesity and increased risk for the development of hypertension, coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory conditions have been well-documented. The data in the literature have shown that bariatric surgery is effective in producing short- and long-term weight loss in obese patients and is more effective than dieting in producing sustained weight loss.
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