New research shows that weight-loss surgery can add years to your life if you’re obese. A study was done on 4,000 participants in the Swedish Obese Subjects program over more than 20 years, providing life-changing results. Obese people who had bariatric surgery lived, on average, three years longer than obese people who didn’t have the surgery, proving that having weight-loss surgery can actually increase your lifespan.
Surgery-related research showed that people’s body mass index (BMI) dropped about 11 points in the year after surgery, according to the findings published in U.S. News & World Report. However, it’s worth noting that the doctors involved in the study pointed out that while weight-loss surgery extended the lifespan for obese patients, their life expectancy was still about six years shorter than that of an average-weight person. (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
Dr. John Morton, director of bariatric surgery at Yale School of Medicine, reviewed the study and told U.S. News & World Report that with newer and more effective weight-loss surgeries, he believes the results could be even more impressive. He also suggested that getting weight-loss surgery earlier in your life could also be more effective, as the longer the body carries extra weight, the more prone it is to chronic conditions. “Carrying extra weight increases comorbidities and decreases life span, but with weight loss, you can reverse that,” Dr. Morton said.
Another doctor, Dr. Mitchell Roslin, who is chief of obesity surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, reviewed the study and told U.S. News & World Report that this research proves that bariatric surgery is not just life-changing but “underutilized.” By showing obese people and their doctors just how much of a positive effect it can have, it will hopefully make it a more viable option for weight loss for those who need it.
“Yet few view that as elective for those in need. We need to start rethinking the management of our morbidly obese patients. Surgery needs to be done more often and earlier before irreversible changes occur,” Dr. Roslin said.
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