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Socioeconomic Characteristics of People Eligible for Obesity Surgery

Eligibility of American Population For Stomach Bypass or Banding

Bariatric Surgery - Bariatric Research Studies

Socioeconomic Characteristics of the Population Eligible for Obesity Surgery

Obesity is increasing in the American population in epidemic proportions. Weight reduction surgery results in sustained weight loss for morbidly obese individuals-a group of patients refractory to nonsurgical obesity treatment. Surgical indications were outlined in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) consensus conference published in 1991. Using the NIH criteria, we compared the socioeconomic characteristics of the population eligible for these operations to those receiving them.

Methods

The 2000 National Health Interview Survey database was examined to identify how many individuals in the American population were eligible for obesity operations. Socioeconomic characteristics for those individuals were then assessed. The Healthcare Cost and Utility Project and National Hospital Discharge Survey databases were queried to determine how many gastric bypass operations were performed and what the patient's socioeconomic characteristics were.

Results

There are 5,324,123 people, or 2.8% of the American population, who are eligible for obesity surgery. Of these, a disproportionate number were black, poorly educated, or impoverished, and 38% rely on Medicare or Medicaid for their health insurance. Of the 28,590 gastric bypass operations performed in 2000, only 13% of patients used Medicare or Medicaid to pay for the operation. Fewer than expected operations were performed on blacks. Regional differences were observed with disproportionately more operations performed in the Northeast and fewer in the Midwest than would be predicted from the surgery-eligible population living in these regions.

Conclusion

A significant fraction of the American population could potentially benefit from obesity surgery. However, many of those individuals are black, poorly educated, and impoverished. Public assistance programs need to account for these patients. Centers performing bariatric operations need to accommodate the educational and financial constraints these patients have when planning long-term postoperative care.

Source:
Livingston EH, Ko CY. Division of Gastrointestinal and Endocrine Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine, the VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, USA.

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Laparoscopic or open bariatric surgery, such as gastric banding or bypass is not an easy solution to morbid obesity and weight loss. It is a serious surgical procedure, involving health risks. To produce lasting weight loss it requires a long-term patient commitment to eating a healthy diet and following a regular program of physical exercise. Life-long use of nutritional supplements may also be necessary. So, before deciding, discuss your options fully with your doctor. © 2003-2017 Bariatric-Surgery.Info - Terms - Contact - Information - Resources