In recent years, morbid obesity has emerged as a serious public health threat. After smoking, it is the second leading cause of preventable, premature death in the United States. It is estimated that there are 400,000 deaths attributable to obesity in the United States each year. The World Health Organization has recognized an epidemic of obesity throughout most of the developed and developing world. Canadian adult obesity trends have grown during a 13-year period from 5.6% in 1985 to 14.8% in 1998.Obesity is associated with multiple complications and related comorbidities that lead to both physical and psychologic problems. Bariatric surgery has been shown to be an effective method for producing weight loss in obese patients in both the short and long term and to be more effective than dieting in producing sustained weight loss. To date, there has not been a population-based study demonstrating a significant impact of surgically induced permanent weight loss on mortality and the prevention of comorbidity in severe obesity. The current study addresses these issues by comparing the outcomes in cohorts of morbidly obese patients.
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