According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association obese people can gain extra years of life after weight loss surgery – halving their risk of dying early from any cause.
New evidence from the study shows bariatric surgery – giving people procedures such as gastric bands – can improve long-term survival for patients from any age group. This reportedly works by cutting diabetes and other obesity-related conditions including heart problems. The research also shows that it has become safer in recent years.
The study found obese people had a 53% lower risk of dying from any cause at five to fourteen years after weight loss surgery. The study involved 2500 obese patients and nearly 7500 matched control receiving care at medical centres in the US Department of Veterans Affairs health system.
“We have tracked a large group of patients for a long enough time that we can clearly see a strong link between bariatric surgery and long-term survival,” says study leader Dr David Arteburn.
“As time passes, the risk of dying among the patients who’ve had surgery appears to be diverging from those of the matched controls who haven’t had surgery.”
Operations for weight loss surgery such as the fitting of a gastric band or gastric bypass surgery are available to treat obesity by reducing the amount of food eaten.
The World Health Organisation warns obesity has reached epidemic proportion globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese.
It warns 44 % of the diabetes burden, 23% of the heart disease burden and between 7% and 41% of the burden of certain cancers are attributable to people being overweight or obese.