The Impact of Psychosocial Outcomes in Long-Term Bariatric Patients
Geraci, Angela Ann
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The disease of obesity is a serious and significant public health epidemic affecting more than 78 million Americans. The increase in human life expectancy also increases the chance of reduced quality of life and well-being by those suffering from obesity. Obesity–related factors may mean years of physical and psychosocial discomfort, lack of mobility, and chronic ill health. This study analyzed long-term bariatric patient outcomes, specifically, factors regarding postprocedure weight regain, surgeon follow-up, and psychosocial issues related to quality of life (i.e. self-concept and obesity discrimination). The overarching research design for this study employed survey methods, using a cross-sectional, self-reported questionnaire and enlisted both a combined quantitative and qualitative approach to analyze data. Participants over the age of 18 and at least 18-months post-procedure were recruited either from public bariatric support forums (n = 133) or through a regional weight management center in the Midwest (n = 534), which specializes in bariatric surgery. Results suggests that although some weight regain after surgery is likely, weight regain decreases as a patient continues to maintain adherence to the recommended post-operative diet, as well as the importance of bariatric follow-up and support. Additional results revealed that different aspects regarding the ‘self’ such as body image, the continued struggle to develop alternative coping strategies to eating, and obesity stigma have an impact for a multitude of years post-bariatric surgery, and therefore can overshadow the benefits of surgery. It is recommended that a critical key to success for long-term bariatric patients is having access and care of multidisciplinary teams including a bariatric surgeon, gastro-intestinal specialist, endocrinologist, nutritionist, and psychiatrist at minimum. Finally, there is also a significant need for long-term bariatric research in the future.