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Obese patients: more mental health conditions than expected

Obese patients: more mental health conditions than expected

Mental health conditions, such as depressions and eating disorders, are common among patients suffering from obesity who are planning to undergo bariatric surgery. That is written by American researchers of the David Geffen School of Medicine in JAMA.

In certain cases, patients suffering from obesity qualify for bariatric surgery. This is a method to induce weight loss by means of a surgical intervention, such as a gastric band, bypass or sleeve. Until now, the prevalence of mental health conditions was not mapped. Therefore, the authors conducted a meta-analysis of the prevalence of mental health conditions in obese people, prior to bariatric surgery (more than 65 thousand patients in 68 studies). These obese people were compared to obese patients who underwent a weight-reducing surgical intervention (more than 50 thousand patients in 27 studies).

Prior to bariatric surgery, 23 percent of patients suffered from a mental health condition, such as depression (19 percent), eating disorders (17 percent) or anxiety disorders (12 percent). According to the authors, these numbers deserve attention because they are higher than the rates published for the American population. No conclusive evidence was found for a difference in mental health between obese patients questioned before bariatric surgery compared to obese patients whose mental health was assessed after a weight-reducing intervention.

The authors state that more factors play a role in mental health before and after bariatric surgery, such as self-esteem and mental image. Therefore, they propose to include these factors in future studies. Also, according to the authors, these need to be methodologically synchronised to facilitate comparisons. With the obtained results, the optimal strategy to treat obese patients can be identified.

Source: JAMA

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