Whether at the football pitch or in the bar, men don’t hide their beer belly, but the 10-15kg overweight is proudly carried in front of them. No one should make fun of it, but the topic must be addressed and discussed with sensitivity. People like to keep quiet about their supposed beer belly, even at the doctor’s, even at physiotherapy or during sports.

“Male obesity”. This cannot simply be categorised as “gluttony” or “self-indulgence”. Male obesity has as many causes as it has manifestations. It primarily affects men from middle age onwards, who (like women) are undergoing a particular type of metabolic change.

Recording from 3.9.2021 ” Saaserhof” in Saas-Fee Overweight: Beer Belly & Love Dumbbells as a Danger? by J. Zehetner, MD

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Particularly with increasing age, the body strives for developmental reasons to store food reserves as fat reserves, so to speak, in order to provide for possible shortages. Especially for men who consume fewer calories than they take in due to their occupation or limited exercise, this quickly leads to unwanted excess weight. Organic processes in particular play an important role here, which cannot be “switched off” so easily.

While there is often talk of dieting and smaller portions, the topic of alcohol and alcohol consumption is talked down, ridiculed and negated, especially among men. However, liquid foods such as beer and wine contain many hidden calories that are not readily counted. The energy drinks that have become fashionable, various shakes and also protein shakes (although healthy) are also energy suppliers and usually high in calories. Fruit juices and smoothies in particular are easily consumed on the side without thinking about how much sugar is being consumed.

Obesity is now more common than malnutrition worldwide. The real problem is predominantly to be observed in the western industrialised countries, since it is precisely here that there is an ever-increasing oversupply of food at all times. The obesity rate in the USA, for example, is around 35-40 percent of the population, which is a fact that should not be underestimated. This means an overweight of at least 20 kilograms, or a BMI of 30 or more. This is also the case despite the surgical intervention options, although these methods in particular can now be classified as very safe and successful. Nevertheless, the rate of surgical interventions needed in this particular area is far too low.

The topic of beer bellies – as the starting point of the discussion – is not only about informing the population and professional colleagues accordingly. Rather, I see it as important to educate about the modern treatment options of bariatric treatment methods up to surgery. The primary aim is always to help patients according to their individual starting situation.

Information on the topic of obesity

It is important to understand that obesity is always associated with concomitant diseases. Diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, high cholesterol – all these manifest themselves in the environment of obesity. But there is also another aspect that has emerged, especially in recent years. The point is that people who are overweight are simply stigmatised. At school, at work and even in private life, overweight people are described as lazy, fat, greedy, careless and lazy about exercise. This puts additional stress on those affected and does not help to tackle the problem in a targeted and conscious way. Significant overweight has been defined as a disease since 2013 at the latest. This puts morbid obesity in the same category as diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and many other chronic diseases.

The stigmatisation of obesity is extremely dangerous for patients, as they then withdraw and cannot address their actual problem in a targeted and active way. Professional treatment, counselling and support is the surest way out of obesity.

Everyone is challenged to exercise some restraint in their contact with morbidly obese people, both in their choice of words and in their behaviour. Even if it’s “only” about the supposed beer belly.

Why specifically “men who are overweight”?

Yes, women also suffer from morbid obesity. But men do it in a special way. There are now “curvy models” for women, but not for men. And men by nature already tend to eat the slightly larger portions, even if that seems to be gradually declining. The world view was and still is such that a belly is always subconsciously associated with prosperity. Also in modern industrial societies. The dangers are mostly conscious, but are only realised when they are actually there, visible and sometimes already tangible.

In addition, after a certain stage of life at the latest, men do not have this special view of their appearance that many women have. The actual problem is not recognised, or is recognised only very late, and is then gladly accepted as natural. This means that they don’t have to go to the doctor, and the obesity surgeon is an unknown quantity for many of those affected. Therefore, men in particular must be sensitised to actively face this problem.

What starts with a beer belly that is not taken seriously often ends in an overweight catastrophe, unless the right steps are taken in time, for example to a Swiss1Chirurgie clinic.

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