Lifestyle & Belief

Weight loss surgery has long-term benefits for obese people, Utah study shows


A new study shows nearly two-thirds of obese children exhibit symptoms of heart disease.


John Moore

Weight loss surgery has long-term health benefits lasting well beyond the procedure, new research shows.

While short-term benefits of gastric bypass surgery for obese people are proven — with three quarters of recipients losing at least 20 percent of pre-surgery weight and keeping it off — a new study found long-term improvements in diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol, Reuters reported.

The Utah study, published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicated good results from bariatric surgery even after six years.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a majority of patients who had Type 2 diabetes before surgery were in remission and also had lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

"It confirms other studies that have demonstrated bariatric or weight-loss surgery appears to be the most successful treatment or therapy for severely obese individuals," the Tribune quoted Ted Adams, a faculty member at the University of Utah School of Medicine, as saying.

According to a report in US News and World Report, he said:

"Individuals who have gastric bypass surgery lose a significant amount of weight. At two years, they had lost 35 percent of their initial body weight. At six years, it was about 28 percent, which shows a pretty durable weight loss. At six years, in those patients who had type 2 diabetes prior to surgery, 62 percent no longer had a diagnosis of diabetes. There was also significant remission in high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides." 

Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40, or — where they also have diabetes or severe sleep apnea — at least 35, according to Reuters.