According to WHO, recent studies revealed that 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight with 650 million qualifying as obese.
"Quarantine 15" is a term coined to refer to the weight gain many people are experiencing during self-isolation, thanks to the pandemic forcing people to spend their time indoors, according to Healthline. While it's nothing to be ashamed of, as one's weight doesn't determine their worth, a group of scientists from New Zealand and the UK have created a weight-loss device to tackle the issue at hand, and it's attracting a fair share of criticism.
In a study published on Nature, the team, which involved medical professionals from the University of Otago and Dr. Jonathan Bodansky and Dr. Richard Hall from Leeds in England, say they created the device to help fight the global obesity epidemic. According to Sky News, the device, called the DentalSlim Diet Control, is basically fitted to the upper and lower teeth. It then uses magnetic devices with unique locking bolts.
Otago and UK researchers have developed a world-first weight-loss device to help fight the global obesity epidemic: an intra-oral device that restricts a person to a liquid diet. Read more: https://t.co/eLhXwipiqs pic.twitter.com/Of6v3uvVbX— University of Otago (@otago) June 28, 2021
"It allows the wearer to open their mouths only about 2mm, restricting them to a liquid diet, but it allows free speech and doesn’t restrict breathing," Professor Paul Brunton, pro-vice-chancellor at the New Zealand University of Otago’s Division of Health Sciences, said in a press release from the university, per New York Post.
The device was fitted in the mouths' of seven women on the heavier side, from Dunedin in New Zealand for two weeks, after which "the participants were given a commercially available liquid diet for two weeks." The group reportedly lost a mean amount of 6.36kg - around 5.1% of their body weight. However, the participants "had trouble pronouncing some words and felt tense and embarrassed 'only occasionally.'"
Despite not experiencing a change in taste or facing difficulty in drinking, the participants "indicated that they occasionally had discomfort and felt that life, in general, was less satisfying." But, despite the discomfort, the participants were happy about losing weight and wanted to continue with the process. “Overall, people felt better about themselves, they had more confidence and they were committed to their weight-loss journey,” Brunton added.
I saw this on @1NewsNZ last night & I was disgusted & horrified. As someone who’s been obese, & knowing what I do about the research into how & why bodies become obese, this is needlessly torturous & shames ppl for their biology. Your ethics committee has a lot to answer for.— Steph 🐾 (@JustStephOK) June 28, 2021
Brunton believes the best part is that the device released by the user via a special tool in the case of an emergency and can be repeatedly fitted and removed. “The fact is, there are no adverse consequences with this device.” The press release also stated that this device was inspired by a device popular in the 1980s that surgically wired people’s jaws shut, but that came with risks, unlike this new device.
However, it didn't bode too well with netizens who were quick to express their concerns. One user wrote, "I can’t imagine how mortifying it would be to wear this thing. Sorry, I’m a fat person so I’m unable to talk, brush my teeth, sneeze, cough?!" Another added, "What if somebody needs to throw up? They just choke to death? What if the person has e.g. a heart attack and needs to be intubated quickly? This seems highly unethical."
In response to the criticism, the university tweeted, "To clarify, the intention of the device is not intended as a quick or long-term weight-loss tool; rather it is aimed to assist people who need to undergo surgery and who cannot have the surgery until they have lost weight. After two or three weeks they can have the magnets disengaged and device removed. They could then have a period with a less restricted diet and then go back into treatment. This would allow for a phased approach to weight loss supported by advice from a dietician."
I don’t really care if it’s for “medical” purposes for obese people. There are better options to help obese people lose weight for surgery. They’re just not as cost effective I would assume. This? This is the most embarrassing thing an obese person would have to go through.— Oliver 🌈✨| BLM (@GrumpSupport) June 28, 2021
According to WHO, recent studies revealed that 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight with 650 million qualifying as obese. But, just so we're clear, fad diets might help you lose weight at first, but you will only put it all back on the minute you stop. Eating healthy consistently, remaining in a calorie deficit, and working out are what will help you shed those kilos in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Cover Image Source: University Of Otago Press Release