Stigma may keep people from getting weight loss surgery

[Reuters, 12/13/18]  Most obese patients who qualify for weight loss surgery don’t seek it out, and that may be due at least partly to stigma, a U.S. survey suggests.

Nearly half of randomly-chosen survey participants said they believe the procedure is usually done for cosmetic rather than health reasons, and about 40 percent thought people who choose the surgery have taken “the easy way out,” researchers report in JAMA Surgery.

“Across the United States, there are adults who have obesity, and the health problems that come with obesity, who are not getting or even seeking the care they need because of the social stigma with being obese and having obesity surgery,” said senior author Dr. Heather Yeo of NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. “This is actually a problem with physicians, too. Often they give patients advice to lose weight, but they don’t refer the patient to a weight loss specialist.”

Weight loss surgery involves one of several techniques for making the stomach smaller, to accommodate less food and curb appetite, sometimes also rerouting part of the digestive tract to bypass part of the intestines. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) in the obese and severely obese ranges are considered good candidates for the procedure…………

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