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Weight loss surgery triumphs over diet/exercise - Weighing the odds

Bariatric surgery: Is it too extreme?
Bariatric surgery: Is it too extreme?
BruceBlaus via Wikimedia Commons

A recent study by prominent medical and research specialists was published Tuesday in the BMJ (British Journal of Medicine). The study shows that Bariatric surgery has surpassed diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss. Surgery patients tested showed a higher overall weight loss as well as a greater likelihood of diminishing diabetes and metabolic issues than those on non-surgical weight loss regimens.

The LA times report

Among subjects followed for at least six months and as long as two years, those who got weight-loss surgery lost on average 57 more pounds than those in nonsurgical weight programs. They were 22 times more likely to see their Type 2 diabetes abate and almost 2 1/2 times more likely to show improvements in signs of metabolic syndrome (a cluster of measures, including abdominal obesity, high fasting blood sugar, hypertension, high triglycerides and low levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol.)

What does this mean for the future of Bariatric surgery?

While Bariatric surgery is the clear winner in this battle, there are other factors to consider. For instance, according to the CDC, there were over 43 million Americans without health insurance in 2006. Surely that number has increased by now. How would these people pay for Bariatric surgery? There are also health risks associated with weight loss surgery. Some people just aren't comfortable with taking those risks. On top of that, there is a recovery period, which would involve taking time off from work. Not everyone has that type of flexibility on their job.

The battle of the bulge rages on

Even with the results of this study, there will be naysayers. Not everyone will believe surgery is the answer. After all, did cavemen have the option of surgery? Isn't natural always better? I must admit, I have a tendency to weigh in on the natural side myself. However, this new evidence gives me reason to pause for thought. After all, those cavemen didn't live as long as we do today. Modern advances in medicine like Bariatric surgery have been lifesaving options for many. This study may turn around even skeptics like me.

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