Study identifies factors that may influence a patient’s likelihood of having weight loss surgery

According to the World Health Organization, four million people die each year from causes related to obesity. Studies have shown weight loss surgery to be an effective and life-saving intervention for obese patients, but the majority of people eligible for the procedure never go for surgery.

A team of researchers from Penn State College of Medicine has identified variables that can influence a patient’s likelihood of having weight loss surgery and help explain why it is underused by some eligible people. The study showed that psychological factors, as well as social determinants of health -; such as race, food security and education level -; play an important role in determining whether a patient is undergoing surgical treatment for obesity.

The study analyzed data from preoperative psychological assessments of 1,234 adult bariatric surgery patients, operated from 2017 to early 2020. The patients answered questions about themselves, their quality of life, their medical history, their health. mental health and eating habits through self-report questionnaires. The majority of patients were female (946) and white (862). Of the study participants, 23% received benefits under the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Researchers have found that blacks, Hispanics, and other minority groups are less likely to have surgery than white patients. In addition to racial disparities, education and economic factors have had an impact on the likelihood of patients having surgery. In addition, both education and economic factors can influence nutrition and eating behaviors that contribute to obesity and general well-being. The researchers found that patients who received SNAP and those with less education were less likely to have surgery compared to patients who did not receive SNAP and those who had a college education.

In addition to identifying social determinants of health that may contribute to a patient’s likelihood of having surgery, the researchers also looked at psychological factors. They said depression and anxiety are common among candidates for weight loss surgery. The results show that patients with higher levels of depression or anxiety were less likely to have surgery. Based on these results, the researchers recommend closely monitoring depression and anxiety in postoperative patients to reduce the risk of self-harm and suicide.

According to the researchers, the results provide insight into the barriers some patients face in undergoing weight loss surgery. They said there was an urgent public health perspective to identify ways to overcome the barriers to bariatric surgery for all those eligible for surgery as well as those affected by these important mental health issues. and social determinants of health.

Future studies are needed to develop interventions that address barriers and treatment gaps in progression to surgery, as well as more upstream factors, such as overall patient referral. ”

Melissa Butt, PhD researcher in public health


Journal reference:

Butt, M., et al. (2021) Surgical intervention predictors for those seeking weight loss surgery. Surgery for obesity and related diseases.

Comments are closed.