NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 20, 2004

Extremely obese people who have weight-loss surgeries experience dramatic improvements in their health, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports.

Seventy percent to 80 percent of the cases of diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and high cholesterol were eliminated or improved in patients who had gastric bypass, gastric banding and other weight-treatment operations.

For the latest study, researchers did a statistical analysis of 136 studies worldwide that included 22,094 weight loss surgery patients. The findings:

  • Patients lost an average of 61 percent body weight.
  • Diabetes was eliminated in 86 percent of patients; hypertension, 78.5 percent; obstructive sleep apnea, 85.7 percent. High cholesterol decreased in 70 percent of patients.
  • Resolution of the diabetes often occurred days after the surgery, before weight loss was achieved, and may be the result of changes in hormones, some of which are related to hunger, brought on by the surgery.

This news comes after two studies last week showed that patients who have gastric bypass live longer than similarly obese patients who don't have the surgery. The new study found that one in 200 died in the month after the operation, whereas one of last week?s studies suggested that one in 50 die within 30 days after gastric bypass.

Source: Nanci Hellmich, "Gastric Bypass Study Yields Big Health Benefits," USA Today, October 13, 2004; and Henry Buchwald et al., "Bariatric Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis," Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 292, No. 14, October 13, 2004.

For USA Today text (subscription required)

For Journal of the American Medical Association study abstract


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