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Medicine and its History Day School IX: Obesity - A 21st Century Problem?

A panel of speakers will present a range of papers on topical issues in obesity including weight management camps, surgery, diet and the national position.

Obesity is one of the greatest health concerns in the Western world. The diet industry thrives on our concerns - book shops, gyms, plastic surgeons, diet clubs, health food shops and supermarkets all benefit from our diet obsessions. However in spite of the best-selling books, the high viewing figures, the rush on aduki beans and plummeting sales of carbohydrate-rich foods, obesity has grown by 400% in the last 25 years. On present trends obesity will soon surpass smoking as the greatest cause of premature loss of life . But what can we do about it?

On the 24th September the “Medicine and its History Day School” at the Thackray Museum will tackle the issues related to obesity head on. The day will begin with a talk by nutritionist Nilani Sritharan who will give us an overview of “the BIG issue” and the factors that have led to the current obesity levels.

While many try and analyse the causes of the rising obesity statistics the vast majority of researchers point to the sedentary lifestyles of children, the advertising budgets of the “junk food” industry, poor nutritional knowledge and a lack of basic cooking skills. Professor Paul Gately of Leeds Metropolitan University took pioneering steps to confront these issues and established the first Weight Management Camp in Europe. Professor Gately will talk about why he established the camp, and how successful it has been.

So, what do you do when you can’t face a life at the gym and a fridge full of salad?
Some people resort to surgery and through history many methods have been adopted with varying levels of success. Mr Stephen Pollard from St James’s Hospital will look at some of the operations that surgeons have used to help, from the small bowel bypass (where a section of the small intestine is re-routed, so there is a smaller surface area to absorb the calories) to operations where the excess skin is removed after a large weight loss. For those who may see surgery as a “quick fix” Mr Pollard will also talk about the negative consequences of some of these operations.

Professor Peter Kopelman chairs the Royal College of Physicians Committee on the management of Obesity and to end the day he will report on the national position and how society can tackle the issues. Jamie Oliver has probably been the most iconic person fighting obesity in recent times, but will his school meals campaign transform the habits of a nation? Should the government fund places at Weight Management Camps if it can potentially save NHS resources? These questions are addressed at a national level by Professor Kopelman and he will talk about some of the solutions the government is considering.

The Medicine and its History Day School is aimed at the general public as well as people in the medical professions and costs £23.50. To book your place on the day please call Rachel Blackeby on 0113 205 6526.


Nilani Sritharan | talks | www
Professor Paul Gately | talks | www
Mr Stephen Pollard | talks | www
Professor Peter Kopelman | talks | www


Date and Time:

24 September 2005 at 10:30 am


Full Day



Thackray Museum
Near St James's Hospital
Beckett Street
0113 244 4343

More at Thackray Museum...



£23.50 a light lunch can be pre-ordered for £3.95

Available from:

To reserve your place or to get further details please call 0113 244 4343

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