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Bariatric Surgery Improves Quality of Life

| Date Posted: 9/13/2012 | Author: Mandy McCue

Quality of life is a term that is used to evaluate the general well-being of individuals and societies. Researchers have begun to distinguish two aspects of a personal well-being: Emotional well-being, which respondents are asked questions about their everyday emotional experience, the frequency and intensity of their emotional experiences and a life evaluation, where respondents are asked to think and evaluate their life in general. Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Quality of Life Research Unit define quality of life as “The degree to which a person enjoys the important possibilities of his or her life”. Simple joys like playing with your children or taking a walk can be hindered by a low, health-related, quality of life.

Obesity is a health related issue that causes a drastic drop in quality of life. Some health effects of obesity include high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, joint problems and depression and can inhibit the degree in which one lives. (Source: Stanford Hospital) Taking steps to battle or prevent obesity can be as simple as being aware of what you eat, moving more or even laughing.  Small steps like these can help lead to a better quality of life.  New research shows that bariatric surgery for obesity can improve an overall quality of life, from relationships to medical conditions.

For the more than one-third of U.S. adults over the age who are classified as obese, the lack of over-all quality of life has become very important. The paper “Social and Health Changes Following Bariatric Surgery” examines how patients who had the surgery fared afterward. The paper was written by Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld(1), and Doris A. Palmer(2). The researchers collected data from 213 patients ranging from 26 to 73 years old, from a self-selected sample of participants in an online support group.  The participants selected surprised Kronenfeld and Palmer with their positive feedback.

“We thought there would be more negative reactions to the surgery, but the response was very positive”, said Kronenfeld, “Most people had improvements in chronic health problems”

Health issues that respondents reported improvements in included diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol levels, and sleep apnea. Respondents also cited increase in mobility as a positive outcome of the surgery. Increase in ability to be physically active and being able to play in the floor with their children were also listed as positive outcomes from the surgery. People who elected to have the surgery to reduce negative reactions to their weight among family and friends reports to have better relationships post-surgery as well as a decrease is depression.

“This provides evidence that overcoming the stigma of being overweight, as reflected by negative reactions of others, can lead to greater satisfaction among relationships with family and friends, and in social life in general,” said Palmer.

The researchers provided the online support group with various questions examining physical health, self-esteem, social life, work life, family life, mobility, and satisfaction with surgery results.  Some of the listed motivators for the weight-loss surgery include: To decrease the risk of health problems; to improve overall health; to improve appearance; and to boost self-esteem.

FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in partnership with Pinehurst Surgical can provide you with the opportunity to increase your quality of life. Weight management and weight loss surgery options are available for patients in the Pinehurst, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Raeford, Sanford, Tory and Rockingham regions of North Carolina and beyond.

To learn more about the effects obesity and depression have on each other read our article “A Tricky Two Way Street: The Correlation between Depression and Obesity.”  Depression is a serious illness. FirstHealth Behavioral Services offers mental health assessments and a wide range of treatment and counseling options.  If you or someone you know is depressed please call (910) 715-3370


  1. Kronenfeld is an Arizona State University Social and Family Dynamics professor.
  2. Palmer is a doctoral student in the School of Social and Family Dynamics sociology program at ASU.

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