The FDA in America has just approved a piece of ‘medical technology’ (I use the term loosely) for use in tackling obesity. I can completely understand why people struggling with their weight might be attracted by this equipment, but this is a cynical and dangerous way to exploit patients for financial gain.
The AspireAssist technology is a simple tube, implanted by a doctor, which allows people to empty their stomach contents after eating. There is no difference between this and bulimia, except that the food exits via a different hole. Supporters of the technology argue that it would inappropriate to use the technology with someone who had psychological issues and they would never use it with that type of patient.
It’s only for obese people with healthy attitudes towards their bodies then. That’s not an oxymoron, I know - not quite. Plenty of overweight people have a healthy attitude to their bodies but, if that’s true, why would they want to use AspireAssist in the first place? Healthy people would surely opt for a healthier solution to go with their positive mindset. They’d lose weight, if that was desired, by changing their lifestyle. They would believe that they could.
It seems to me that this technology is utterly designed for those who are struggling to cope. It’s people who are struggling, who have psychological issues, mild or severe, who reach for quick-fix solutions out of desperation. Nobody who felt good about themselves would opt to have someone fix a tube to them as a way of resolving what is always a complex problem. This technology just allows peoples to act on their bulimic instincts without getting a sore throat. That’s not a solution. It just robs people of the nutrition that food ought to be providing.
Tackling obesity takes time and effort and a meaningful change of lifestyle. There are no quick fixes but there are a whole bunch of people lining up to convince us that there are. What makes us give in to them? It’s not that we’re idiots; it’s not that we’re naive. It’s that we’re hopeful and desperate and too busy and too stressed to cope with what can feel like a massive change. It takes self-discipline to resist the temptation of an easy solution. So we give in and somebody takes some of our cash and a bit of our dignity too.
The Make Your Switch website can help you with diet and exercise and be honest and constructive about the complex psychological considerations that come up when we want to lose weight too. GPs can help. There are plenty of other places to go without having to resort to invasive procedures.
So, please, don’t fall for this if it does end up here in the UK. Stick to something you know will really work.