Obesity is increasing in the American population.
Weight reduction surgery results in sustained weight loss for morbidly obese individuals
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has outlined indications for weight reduction surgery.
In this study, researchers used the NIH criteria, to compare the socioeconomic characteristics of the population eligible for these operations to those receiving them.
The team used the 2000 National Health Interview Survey database identify the number of individuals in the US population who were eligible for obesity operations.
|2.8% of the population is eligible for obesity surgery.|
The socioeconomic characteristics for those individuals were then assessed.
The team then examined the Healthcare Cost and Utility Project and National Hospital Discharge Survey databases to determine how many gastric bypass operations were performed.
The researchers determined that 2.8% of the population is eligible for obesity surgery.
They found that a disproportionate number of those eligible were black, poorly educated, or impoverished. A total of 38% rely on Medicare or Medicaid for their health insurance.
However, of the 28,590 gastric bypass operations performed in 2000, only 13% of patients used Medicare or Medicaid to pay for the operation.
Furthermore, fewer than expected operations were performed on blacks.
The team also established that more operations were performed in the Northeast and fewer in the Midwest than would be predicted from the surgery-eligible population living in these regions.
Drs Edward Livingston and Clifford Ko concluded, "A significant fraction of the American population could potentially benefit from obesity surgery".
"However, many of those individuals are black, poorly educated, and impoverished".
"Public assistance programs need to account for these patients".
"Centers performing bariatric operations need to accommodate the educational and financial constraints these patients have when planning long-term postoperative care".