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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Pittsburgh: Analysis Identifies Patients Most at Risk for Weight Regain After Bariatric Surgery

In the years following bariatric surgery, a person’s overall eating behaviors and the amount of time spent watching television, playing video games and using a computer for recreation are a better indication of long-term weight loss success than specific weight control practices like counting calories.

Those findings by the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, published in the Annals of Surgery, also indicate that, despite the thorough psychological evaluation often required in preparation for bariatric surgery, mental health and eating habits prior to surgery were not useful in predicting which patients would struggle most with keeping the weight off after surgery. It is the largest long-term study to examine patient behaviors and characteristics associated with post-bariatric surgery weight regain.

“Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for severe obesity. It results in sustained weight reduction and remission of diabetes and other health problems in the majority of patients,” said lead author Dr. Wendy King, associate professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. “However, as with all types of weight loss interventions, patients usually regain at least some of the weight they initially lose.”

Reducing sedentary behavior; avoiding fast food; addressing problematic eating behaviors — including eating continuously, eating when full, loss of control and binge eating; and promoting self-weighing at least weekly were all behavioral targets the research team identified that patients should strive for and doctors should promote as part of post-surgical patient care.

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