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Gastric bypass surgery patients get discounts at Brazilian restaurants

Faine GreenwoodGlobalPost.com

Do you have a gastric band? You might be eligible to receive a discounted meal at restaurants in Campinas in Brazil's São Paulo state, where the local government has decided that gastric band patients are entitled to cheaper eats.

The Telegraph reports that Campinas restaurants must offer gastric band patients a 50 percent discount, or risk facing fines. (The rules don't apply to buffet restaurants).

Of course, the onus is on the patient to prove that really do have a gastric band: they'll have to produce a medical report or doctor's statement to be entitled to the meal discount.

Why was the decision made? Gastric band patients have a small band placed around the upper portion of their stomach, creating a much smaller pouch, says the FDA. Patients then are only able to eat a small amount of food at any given time, allowing them to lose weight.

However, it remains debatable just how effective a long-term solution gastric band surgery really is, according to this New York Times article.

This inability to eat as much as average diners creates a problem when they're forced to pay full price for a meal they have little hope of finishing. It can in fact be dangerous or even deadly for a gastric band or bypass patient to eat too much.

"People with a gastric band eat less than half what everyone else eats. If they order a dish from the menu they'll only manage to eat a fraction of it. They shouldn't have to pay the same," said Councillor Francisco Sellin to the Globo 1 website.

Globo 1 reports a remarkable jump in weight loss surgeries in recent years in Brazil: the stomach surgeries increased by 375 percent from 2003 to 2010, from 16,000 to 60,000 operations around the country.

No one knows if similar rules will hit the USA, but as gastric band (and bypass) surgeries continue to surge in popularity, it's certainly possible.