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bariatrics (bar-ee-A-triks) noun

A branch of medicine concerned with obesity.

[From Greek baros (weight) + -iatrics (medical treatment). Other words that are derived from the same Greek root are barium, baritone, and barometer.]

"Michael Dionne, a physical therapist in Gainesville, Georgia, who specializes in bariatrics, says more and more hospitals call on him for help in reducing injuries to nurses and orderlies who must move an increasing number of greatly overweight patients."
Unmesh Kher; How to Sell XXXL; Time (New York); Jan 27, 2003.

"Three years later, she left for St. Vincent Carmel and became one of the founding surgeons for its new bariatrics unit. As a whole, the hospital has done about 4,500 weight-loss surgeries in the past five years."
Dan McFeely; Feeling Smaller Every Day; Indianapolis Star; Dec 21, 2003.

In the US, we've a growing problem. I'm talking about the problem of obesity that has reached epidemic proportions. As economist John Kenneth Galbraith put it, "More die in the United States of too much food than of too little." The word obese comes from Latin obedere, literally, to eat away. Along with other words such as edible, esurient, and comestible, it comes from Latin edere (to eat).

While it's easy to blame or feel sorry for the obese, there's no simple solution. Here's an informative story that explores many issues on the topic:

This week's AWAD will look at other words from the world of medicine.

-Anu Garg


A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company. -Charles Evans Hughes, jurist (1862-1948)

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