Weight loss after surgery seen in patient's family

NEW YORK Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:25pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who have weight loss surgery aren't alone in slimming down after the procedure -- family members do so, too, a study in the Archives of Surgery shows.

Surgeons at Stanford University School of Medicine found that one year after a person had undergone surgery, obese family members had shed an average of eight pounds, dropping from 234 to 226.

"Obesity is really a family disease," said Dr. John Morton, the surgeon who led the study. "When you invest in the (weight loss surgery) patient, you not only get benefits for the surgery patient, but for the family as well."

Adult family members, limited to those living with the patient, also cut the number of alcoholic drinks they had from about 11 per month to just one and trimmed their waistlines about three inches.

Patients' kids didn't lose weight, but Morton said they staved off expected weight gain. More kids also said they were on a diet after their parent's surgery -- up from a quarter to half.

The findings are based on 35 patients who had gastric bypass surgery as well as 35 adult family members and 15 children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about a third of U.S. adults are obese, increasing their risk of health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

While there are many ways to lose weight, surgery is the gold standard medical treatment for severe obesity.

More than 220,000 Americans had a weight loss operation in 2009, at a price of about $20,000 per patient, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

One study found seven percent of surgery patients experienced complications, but most were minor wound problems. Serious complications -- such as massive bleeding or kidney failure -- occurred in 2.6 percent of patients and were more common in bypass surgery than in the gastric banding procedure.

The new study is small and doesn't prove that surgery helps family members lose weight. But it suggests that it might, just as being the partner of an obese person is linked to a higher risk of being heavy yourself, said Morton.

SOURCE: bit.ly/rkrrHe Archives of Surgery, October 17, 2011.

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Comments (4)
JonnyShelley wrote:
I don’t recommend using surgery as a viable option for weight loss. With the right mindset and motivation anyone can shed a couple pounds with some patience and persereveance. A little bit of exercise and nutritional knowledge goes a long way.
Anybody struggling with their weight should give this blog a look. He has an inspirational story of how he changed his life for the better, and ended up meeting the love of his life. I always read his first post whenever I am a bit frustrated with my dieting, Josh is a lucky man.

Oct 17, 2011 8:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jsanglier wrote:
This is not particularly surprising as this often happens with any sort of diet – especially if the person dieting has more influence within the group.

With surgery, the diet does not end with the surgery – in fact, for it to be successful the person must diet as if they did not have the surgery (there is a significant failure rate with surgery).

Which begs the question: why have the surgery? Why not just do the diet bit and save the risks associated with any operation?

Some people with extreme conditions, especially where there health problems means there will be problems with certain types of diet, may have to have surgery. But seeing that the numbers are increasing for surgery, I suggest that many could have done just as well with a diet. I am currently dieting f down from 140kg (I am not tall) and have gotten down to 115. It is hard work, but the diet I am using is pretty similar to that which is recommended following surgery. I am also loosing weight at a similar rate.

Oh, and other members of my family have joined in too.

Oct 18, 2011 11:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
globalforager wrote:
A better, healthier, and less expensive way to lose weight is to follow a low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet and avoid most grains. Many people who have bariatric surgery end up regaining the weight they lost because they do not change their eating habits. It’s possible to restretch the stomach to accommodate more food. Change to eating whole foods and avoid refined, processed junk food and lose the weight naturally.

Oct 18, 2011 1:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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