A Danish Broadcasting Corp. production crew's documentary on obesity in America will feature patients and caregivers from Franciscan St. Francis Health's Weight Loss Center in Indianapolis. The finished product is set to air in Denmark in November. September 11, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Franciscan St. Francis Health's Weight Loss Center (WLC) and its services will be the focus of a Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) documentary later this fall.

A four-member film crew visited Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis Sept. 10 to get an up-front look at how its bariatric program helps obese patients achieve their weight loss goals and how to make healthier lifestyle choices. The documentary team also wanted to see how the hospital has adapted in accommodating obese patients.

DR's interest in obesity in the United States and how the medical industry is adapting to that trend was spawned by a USA Today story which originally appeared in the Indianapolis Star late last year. The article featured WLC program director Terri Hohlt and Paul Minnis, the hospital's MRI imaging team leader.

Obesity is officially defined as having body fat above 32 percent of women and 25 percent for men; 30 percent and 25 percent for girls and boys, respectively. Nearly 80 million American adults and 12.5 million are obese, according to the Institute of Medicine, the health component of the National Academies.

In contrast, Denmark's overall obesity rate is markedly lower at 11.5 percent, but is said to be steadily on the rise.

“No doubt, obesity has become a serious medical issue in our nation and particularly here in Indiana,” Hohlt told Christine Feldthaus, a well-known television personality in Denmark and a DR interviewer. “Our hospital recognized this early on and responded.”

Among the changes at Franciscan St. Francis has been the installation of wider doorways, reinforced commodes, patient beds and seating in waiting rooms and larger wheelchairs. Most of those changes have been subtle and blend in with the surroundings.

On the clinical side, the Indianapolis hospital uses vein viewers for better vascular access and a wide bore MRI scanner which can accommodate patients as heavy as 600 pounds.

More than a decade ago, advances made in weight loss surgery gained in popularity as the obesity trend escalated. Franciscan St. Francis responded by establishing a bariatric surgery and medically supervised weight loss program. It was among the first in the Indiana to be certified as a Center of Excellence from the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

“A third of the cases I treat are bariatric procedures,” Jonathan Mandelbaum, MD, Franciscan Physician Network Indy Southside Surgical and surgical director of the bariatric program, explained when the news team visited with him in a vacant operating room suite.

“Laparoscopic technology has kept pace and aids us greatly in treating our heaviest patients.”

Mandelbaum and his colleagues offer patients options such as gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and Lap-Band surgeries, which are recommended for patients with a BMI of 40 or higher, or patients with a BMI of 35 and higher and who have other conditions such as diabetes or sleep apnea.

During their visit, the DR team also toured the Imaging Department and met with the post-surgical nursing staff, where some of the rooms have been fashioned to accommodate obese patients. They also met with a registered dietitian, who explained how she educates patients on eating habits and choices during weight loss and following surgical procedures.

The film documentary is expected nationally in Denmark and adjacent nations in November 2013.

To learn more about the programs and services at Franciscan St. Francis Health Weight Loss Center, visit its website at www.franciscanalliance.org/hospitals/indianapolis/services/weightloss/Pages/default.aspx.

Source: Franciscan St. Francis Health

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