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Weight-loss surgery results in positive changes in social life, medical conditions
Date:8/17/2012

DENVER New research shows that people who have bariatric surgery to treat obesity report an overall improvement in quality of life issues after surgery, from their relationships to their medical conditions. Arizona State University researchers will present their findings at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States with more than one-third of adults over age 20 classified as obese. Bariatric surgery is an increasingly common procedure that individuals are turning to that typically results in dramatic weight losssometimes of 100 pounds or more. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, about 220,000 people underwent bariatric surgery in 2009 in the United States, up from about 13,300 procedures in 1998.

The paper, "Social and Health Changes Following Bariatric Surgery," examines how patients who had the surgery fared afterward. The researchers collected data from 213 patients ranging in age from 26 to 73 years old, with an average age of 50, through a self-selected sample of participants in an online support group.

"We thought there would be more negative reactions to the surgery, but the response was very positive," said study co-author Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld, an ASU School of Social and Family Dynamics professor. "Most people had improvements in chronic health problems."

Health issues that respondents reported improvements in included diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol level, and sleep apnea. Study respondents also cited increased mobility as one of the positive aspects of having surgery to lose weight. Weight loss among participants averaged 95 pounds per person while the range of weight experiences was widefrom a gain of 80 pounds, which is atypical according to the researchers, to a weight loss of 260 pounds.

People who elected to have the surgery to reduce negative reactions to their weight among friends
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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