In a large study tracking obese patients, researchers found that gastric bypass surgery, and other weight-loss surgeries, leads to long-term weight loss and lowers risks forheart disease and diabetes. Swedish researchers tracked 4000 severely obese patients, including 1845 who underwent weight-loss surgery: 641 patients in the surgery group and 627 patients in the nonsurgery "control" group completed the 10-year examination. At one interval in the study, the control group had a weight increase of 1.6%; however, in the surgery group, weight had decreased by 16.1%. The surgery group also had a lower calorie intake and higher level of physical activity throughout the duration of the study. High blood pressure, diabetes, high triglyceride levels, and low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were all improved in the surgery group at both 2 and 10 years. In the nonsurgery group, 24% of patients had developed diabetes after 10 years, compared with 7% in the surgery group. In a New England Journal of Medicineeditorial on the subject, Caren Solomon, MD, MPH, and Robert Dluhy, MD, agree that weight-loss surgery "is currently the most successful approach to rescuing patients with severe obesity and reversing or preventing the development of several diseases associated with obesity."
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.