European Take on WLS
I’ve just returned from a 10 day trip to Germany and I was exposed to some very interesting size and WLS concepts. For one, TV advertisements for WLS are not plentiful. It seems that commercials for any type of WLS are abundent here in the states, but I didn’t see one ad promoting WLS on any of the German stations. Interestingly enough, I was visiting a childhood friend of a friend of mine and she (the friend) was a woman of size and was totally uninformed about any kind of weight loss surgery or what procedures were available. When she learned that I had had Lap Band surgery and had had success in losing weight, she was very interested in the procedure, the cost and where you could go to get the procedure done.
From my experience with my friend’s friend, it’s clear that folks in Europe may have a different take on promoting weight loss surgery as an option for those with a BMI over 45. Most doctors, here in the US, are knowledgeable about the types of procedures and, at least, mention it as an option to patients who may not be familiar with this weight loss option. Based on what I heard from my German friend, it’s clear that her doctor had never put this on the table as a consideration for her to research. She was totally uninformed and is at a place in her life where her weight is more of an “issue” rather than something she can live with.
Contrary to popular thought, most German women that I saw were not (what I would consider) severly overweight. I did see many who were very “healthy”, but far from morbidly obese. I didn’t ever see any woman who was bigger than me and I did receive several glares and (some fairly rude) comments when people saw me. Was it because they knew I wasn’t German (although I do look German) or was it because of my appearance? Obviously, I’ll never know, but I do know that my size (even with 120 pounds gone) was topic for conversation. I found that German women (especially) were not afraid to comment about my size (non-verbal and facial expressions can say volumes) and seemed to feel not only was I fat, but also deaf….but, then again, how many times has that happened here in the states, too? I guess it just proves size bias is alive and kickin’ all over the world…..