Maradona's gastric bypass inspires obese Colombians

September 27, 2005

BOGOTA, Colombia -- Diego Maradona has started a weight-loss trend.

Impressed by the way weight-reduction surgery in Colombia transformed Argentine soccer icon Diego Maradona, overweight Colombians are flocking to doctors for the same procedure -- and want the government to pay for it.

Maradona weighed 266 pounds before he had the surgery in March. Since losing the weight, he's been jetting around the world, showing off his new body.

At least 14 Colombians have filed lawsuits to have government-provided health insurance pay for the same surgery. The cases have already become known as "Maradona lawsuits," Gina Magnolia Riano, director of the Ibero-American Social Security Organization, said at a medical forum on Monday.

A judge recently ruled in one man's favor, and his surgery is scheduled for Wednesday.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press