The Coalition against Morbid Obesity submits its petition and asks Minister Couillard to follow suit with his action plan

    MONTREAL, June 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Josée Roy and Jennifer Schultz,
cofounders of the Coalition against Morbid Obesity, met media representatives
today as Action Démocratique du Québec's health and social services
spokesperson Eric Caire presented their petition to the Quebec National
Assembly. "Over 600 people across Quebec have signed our petition. Most of
them also forwarded personal testimonials that cannot leave anyone
indifferent. The MSSS must act now and introduce its action plan on bariatric
surgery scheduled for June 2008. It should be noted that in addition to their
morbid obesity, these people are affected by multiple related pathologies that
are very costly to our healthcare system", declared Mrs. Roy. "The number of
bariatric surgeries performed annually in Quebec must increase substantially.
Some 300,000 Quebecers suffer from morbid obesity, 3,500 are waiting to be
operated and less than 1,000 bariatric surgeries are being performed annually.
This is a fatal disease, just like cancer or diabetes. Why are those people
denied the one treatment that can save their lives?", added Mrs. Roy.

    Your cause is not sexy!

    Last February, at a meeting with Health and Social Services Department
(MSSS) cabinet officials, the cofounders of the Coalition against Morbid
Obesity were told "Your cause is not sexy", thus implying it was hopeless.
"Following the meeting that had us more worried than ever about the fate of
morbidly obese people in Quebec, we decided to launch a petition to raise
awareness," affirmed Mrs. Schultz. "Prior to becoming morbidly obese, we were
obese. Well, 47% of Quebecers are overweight, and, to make matters worse,
morbid obesity rates grow faster than those of obesity. Far from being a lost
one, our cause is more pressing than ever", added Mrs. Schultz.

    Justified claim

    According to its representatives, the MSSS intention is to increase from
1,000 to 1,500 the number of bariatric surgeries performed annually, gradually
over the next five years. This is a losing proposition that the Coalition
against Morbid Obesity deplores greatly. Indeed, in comparison with the 2%
minimum requirement recognized by the National Institute for Health and
Clinical Excellence, some 6,000 bariatric surgeries should be performed
annually in Quebec. The petition's objective is to ensure that Quebec complies
with that minimum requirement standard. "Where obesity is involved, prevention
is essential. But for the 300,000 morbidly obese people in Quebec, bariatric
surgery is the only efficient treatment. And don't take my word for it, the
World Health Organization is the one saying it!," concluded Mrs. Roy.

    Eloquent testimonials

    "I'm 20 years old. I weigh close to 400 pounds. I have high cholesterol
and my blood press is limit. Chances are I will develop Type 2 diabetes over
the next few years. My name is on a waiting list for bariatric surgery, but I
was told my turn may only come up in seven years. All I want is to lead a
normal life," said Robert Martinez in his testimonial. "My husband and I are
very concerned about his future. I wrote twice to Minister Couillard, but to
no avail. The government must increase funding for bariatric surgeries. I want
my son to live a normal life. This is not a privilege: it's his right," said
Mrs. Joanne Rankin, Robert Martinez' mother.

    Morbid obesity

    Morbid obesity is the starting point for different types of diseases that
are often fatal, such as arterial hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, or heart
disease. An individual's obesity level can be evaluated by means of the body
mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing the person's weight by his
or her height squared (Kg/m2). Morbid obesity corresponds to a BMI higher than
or equal to 40, or higher than or equal to 35 if accompanied by comorbidities.

    Bariatric surgery

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), bariatric surgery is
considered to be the only effective treatment for morbid obesity. Bariatric
surgery includes a series of techniques that are based on two intervention
principles: gastric bypass (reduced volume) and intestinal malabsorption
(derivation). In Québec in 2005, the Agence d'évaluation des technologies et
des modes d'intervention en santé (AETMIS) tabled a report entitled "Surgical
Treatment of Morbid Obesity - Update", which reviews all of the bariatric
surgery techniques. The AETMIS recommended establishing an action plan in
Québec to define the need for bariatric surgery and devise ways to respond to

    About the Coalition against Morbid Obesity

    Created in February 2007, the Coalition against Morbid Obesity is a
non-profit, Québec-based organization that draws on the strength of
association to increase awareness of the issue of morbid obesity and to foster
better access to bariatric surgery in Québec. Its signature, "Weight that
kills", expresses the dramatic situation that is experienced by people who are
suffering from morbid obesity. As its name indicates, this disease leads to a
faster death for those who are afflicted. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Hélène Hains, Enigma communications, (514)
982-0308, extension 221, Cell.: (514) 825-0308,

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