Getting Your Entire Family on a Diet

Bariatric surgery patients family lose weight too

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Obesity has spread all across America and bariatric surgeries are increasing, but who knew bariatric surgeries could benefit the entire family? A "halo effect" is taking place.

As of today, almost 30 percent of American adults and 15 percent of American children suffer from obesity and the problem seems to be getting worse. However, researchers found an intervention that might help some families.

"A family approach to weight loss can be very effective."

Lead author, Gavitt Woodard, M.D., from Stanford School of Medicine, and colleagues found obese family members were able to lose on average eight pounds from participating in pre- and post-operative clinical visits after a loved one under went bariatric surgery.

They were also able to lose three inches off their waistline and drink fewer alcoholic drinks.

Obese children of bariatric surgery patient's benefited as well. They had lower body mass indexes than would have been expected according to growth-curve charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It makes sense, John Morton, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery and director of bariatric surgery at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, says, these family members lived with the patients and participated in pre- and post-operative clinical visits.

So they too would learn about high protein, high fiber, low fat and low sugar diets, Dr. Morton adds. The visits also emphasized the importance of daily exercise.

Bariatric surgery programs should encourage all family members to support and be involved with education sessions, Dr. Morton concludes. Obesity does not just affect the individual; it's a family disease and bariatric surgery can help families start eating more healthy meals, he adds

The research included family members from 35 patients who had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. This involves reducing stomach size and re-arranging the small intestine. The study was conducted after a year of the surgery.

The research was published October 17 in the Archives of Surgery and was funded by the Stanford University's Medical Scholars Program.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 19, 2011
Last Updated:
October 23, 2011