Study: Weight Loss Surgery Can Make Or Break Love Life, Relationships


4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented with lifestyle changes

Drastic weight loss resulting from bariatric surgery can be life-changing. Studies in Sweden showed that induced weight loss can either start or end romantic relationships.  ( Hector Guerrero/AFP | Getty Images )

Like obesity, weight reduction through surgery has life-changing effects. People who had bariatric surgery have high chances of getting married or getting a divorce.

The Study

A recent study on obese people in Sweden showed that individuals who have experienced drastic weight loss due to bariatric surgery also go through significant changes in their personal and romantic relationships.

After bariatric surgery, singles are likely to get into a relationship or get married. On the other hand, incidents of separation and divorce have also slightly increased after weight loss surgery, according to the study.

In short, aside from the health complications caused by being obese, changes in relationship status is an aftereffect of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss.

The research, aimed to analyze changes in relationship status after bariatric surgery, examined two large groups for the medical study: the Swedish Obese Subjects and the Scandinavian Obesity Surgery Registry.

For the SOS group, self-reported relationship status of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery and control persons with obesity were observed. In the SORr, frequencies of legal marriages and divorces were compared to patients from the general population.

The patients’ data were obtained from surgical departments and primary health care centers across Sweden. Analysis of the data was accomplished from June 2016 to December 2017.

Aftereffects

Bariatric surgery is considered as an effective treatment for obesity. Over the years, more obese people have chosen this minimally invasive treatment.

The common bariatric procedures include gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric bands. The surgery aids weight loss by regulating the amount of food that the stomach can hold and restricts the small intestines from absorbing nutrients from food.

Most weight loss surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques or laparoscopic surgery.

In the study, researchers found that individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery are more likely to find a new partner or to get married, compared with non-operated individuals.

After the surgery, obese individuals become more socially active, so it could mean that patients might find it easier to meet their partners post-operation. The study also noted that separation and divorces were slightly common after a surgery.

However, the research stated that bariatric surgery doesn’t automatically lead to dysfunctional relationships. Improvement of self-confidence and self-image of weight loss surgery patients may also empower them to leave unhealthy relationships.

Overall, there is a need to better understand the factors that contribute to the observed increase in relationship breakdowns.

“Previous studies have shown that most relationships are strengthened or are unchanged. This is also supported by our study showing that majority of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery remain in the same relationship, many years after the surgery,” says Per-Arne Svensson of the University of Gothenburg, the study lead author.

Increased alcohol and substance abuse and signs of increased suicide risk after a surgery were also documented.

In 2013, nearly 470,000 bariatric procedures were performed globally. Improved quality of life is among the evident overall results of a bariatric procedure. In the U.S, an estimated 216,000 bariatric procedures were performed in 2016.

Adult Obesity Problem

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Obese individuals are considered high-risk for obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the annual medical cost of obesity at $147 billion in 2008. Medical costs for people who have obesity were higher by $1,429 than those who are of normal weight.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that from 2011 to 2014, the prevalence of obesity was just over 36 percent in adults and 17 percent among youth. Obesity prevalence was higher in women at 39 percent than in men at 34 percent.

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