Grace - Mirror

Perception and Reality in Bariatric Surgery

The gaps between perception and reality in the realm of obesity and its treatment are so many and so great that they can make your head spin. Bariatric surgery — perhaps the most effective treatment for severe obesity — produces some of the most jarring gaps.

In a new study published online by Obesity, Fatima Cody Stanford and colleagues provide some objective numbers for a couple of these gaps. They found that:

  • 42% of people with severe obesity did not even think that they had obesity.
  • Only 32% of people with severe (class III) obesity thought that bariatric surgery would be an appropriate option for themselves to consider.
  • People who understand that they have severe obesity are 50% more likely to consider surgery than those who don’t.
  • Thinking that the surgery is too risky is the main reason for not considering it.

Stanford commented:

Our study makes it clear how important it is for primary care physicians to help people understand their own personal health risks and options related to obesity. Patients who don’t understand are less likely to consider options for improving their health.

Senior author Caroline Apovian added:

We are adding more treatment options for severe obesity, including new drugs and less invasive medical devices. With these new options and the help of skilled, caring physicians, perhaps people with severe obesity will soon find that they have more choices which are acceptable to them.

ConscienHealth and the Obesity Action Coalition played a key role in developing this study and publishing it. We’re pleased to bring some objective insight into the perceptions and unmet needs of people affected by obesity.

“Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself.” — Mohsin Hamid

Click here to read the study.

Grace – Mirror, photograph © Philip Dean / flickr

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6 Responses to “Perception and Reality in Bariatric Surgery”

  1. December 30, 2014 at 12:40 pm, Anna J. said:

    The picture accompanying this article is infantilizing and offensive to people with obesity.

    • December 30, 2014 at 4:54 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks for taking time to comment, Anna. I am a person with obesity and it does not offend me. I am genuinely sorry that it offends you.

  2. December 30, 2014 at 7:38 pm, Anna J. said:

    A child looking into a mirror, unable to distinguish fact from fantasy? Seriously?

    • December 30, 2014 at 8:03 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks for further clarifying your thoughts about this picture, Anna. I appreciate the chance to know how different people’s reactions to images can be.

  3. January 01, 2015 at 9:36 pm, Reo said:

    I looked past the picture and looked at the article. It is evident education is seriously lacking in the fight to raise awareness about obesity.

    • January 02, 2015 at 4:38 am, Ted said:

      Thanks for taking time to comment, Reo.