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NEWS | July 29, 2005

Obesity surgery success stories

UC Davis medical center fashion show spotlights gastric bypass patients

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

Jim McDaniel never thought he’d be a fashion model. Now he’s almost a clotheshorse. Until last year, the 57-year-old printer had a tough time even walking.  Any choice in clothing for his 365-pound frame — let alone fashionable clothing — was just about the last thing on McDaniel’s mind.

Today, with an outlook and physical appearance considerably different than a year ago, McDaniel is about to join nine women and two other men for an event showcasing weight reduction surgery success stories. He’ll stride the models’ runway at UC Davis Medical Center’s annual bariatric fashion show, which is set for Friday, August 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium of the UC Davis Cancer Center, 4501 X St., Sacramento.

The 13 “models” have lost a combined 1,742 pounds since their surgeries at the medical center. McDaniel himself lost 165 pounds after undergoing a bariatric procedure known as gastric bypass in March 2004.  It involved reducing the size of his upper stomach to limit the amount of food he could eat or his body could absorb.

“This was major surgery,” said the Rancho Cordova resident. “It saved my life.  I only wish I’d done it 10 years ago.”

At UC Davis Medical Center, gastrointestinal surgeon Mohamed Ali leads a team that has performed nearly 500 bariatric procedures in the past three years and anticipates doing nearly that many in the coming year alone. Because of its experience and successful outcomes, Ali’s bariatric surgery program recently received designation as a Center of Expertise by Blue Cross of California.

With obesity affecting an estimated 58 million people across the nation, the gastric bypass operation McDaniel had has become the most common form of weight reduction surgery in the United States. It is usually reserved for people who have been unsuccessful in other weight-loss programs and are at least 100 pounds overweight. Studies have shown that bariatric surgery provides more than just cosmetic benefits. It can reduce major health risks such hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes — benefits McDaniel has experienced firsthand.

“Before surgery, I had heart troubles, diabetes symptoms and bad knees. Everything hurt so bad,” he said.  “Today that’s gone. I’m riding a bike, I’m active and I’m finally getting to buy clothes from places other than the racks of big and tall stores.”  

While McDaniel is eager and willing to get up on stage to show off his newly acquired physique, he isn’t the only one in his family celebrating the benefits of bariatric surgery. Success almost goes hand-in-hand around his home. His wife had the procedure done at UC Davis four years ago. Like her husband, she’s lost 165 pounds, too.

This is the third annual fashion show featuring successful gastric bypass patients from UC Davis. Each bariatric model will present three different fall fashions at the event. After all, for people like Jim McDaniel, successful weight reduction and the opportunity to show off stylish attire are a perfect fit.
Proceeds support the UC Davis Bariatric Surgery Program, which hosts special obesity education and weight management classes in addition to offering surgical procedures. 

Copies of all news releases from UC Davis Health System are available on the Web at
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/newsroom.