Major Gender Disparity Among Bariatric Patients
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have identified demographic, socioeconomic and cultural factors that contribute to a major gender disparity among men and women undergoing weight loss surgery. The study, “Benefits of Bariatric Surgery Do Not Reach Obese Men” reported that 80% percent of patients who undergo bariatric surgery are female, despite equal rates of obesity among American men and women.
In the study, it was interesting to note that patients were more likely to be female if from a lower income group or if African American or Hispanic. Patients were less likely to be female with increasing age, more comorbidities, or private insurance. Another factor driving more women to have surgery could also be cultural and men have a skewed male body perception which hinders the likelihood of seeking health-care advice.
The results of this study should raise awareness in men about the complications that obesity brings to their health. Men only begin to seek the surgery as they age and become sicker as they generally seem more satisfied with their health even when they were classed as overweight or obese compared to women. Women also seem to be more aware of the problems obesity brings to health. They are more willing to look at surgical weight loss earlier in life, whereas men tend to wait until they develop obesity related complications.
Men need to be educated about the need to treat obesity earlier so that they don’t develop complications in the future. Weight loss surgery contributes to improving medical conditions associated with obesity such as, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and arthritis. Men need to wake up to the need to control their obesity and invest in their future health and quality of life.
Reference: Journal of Laparoendoscopic & Advanced Surgical Techniques March 2015, 25(3): 196-201. Doi10.1089/lap.2014.0639
Authors: Fuchs Hans F, Broderick Ryan C, Harnsberger Cristina R, Chang David c, Sandler Bryan J, Jacobsen Garth R & Horgan Santiago.