Yesterday a report by The National ­Bariatric Surgery Registry reported a surge in operations like Joanne’s, particularly for those under the age of 25.NHS England’s medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said: “Obesity and bariatric surgery are rapidly rising up the NHS agenda as a consequence of social and lifestyle choices.”The survival rate is over 99.9% for ­bariatric surgery but Joanne’s story must act as a cautionary tale.Widower AJ said the operation had a positive effect on Joanne and her hopes for a family. He said: “Jo had always been told she couldn’t have kids, being so overweight, so to have them was amazing.
“We were one big happy family. The band saved her life and it transformed it too.”Even as a teenager, self-confessed chocoholic Joanne struggled with her weight.“She was always a big girl,” says AJ, 55.By the time 5ft 1in Joanne hit her 30s, she was 36st 5lb and couldn’t fit into size 46 skirts.Doctors warned that her only option was surgery. “She became so big, it was life ­threatening,” AJ explains.It was in a London hospital before her gastric band op in September 1998 that hairdresser Joanne met AJ. “I was visiting my brother and had gone out for some fresh air,” he recalls.

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