Perceived barriers to bariatric surgery among morbidly obese patients

Surg Obes Relat Dis. Jan-Feb 2010;6(1):16-21. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2009.07.006. Epub 2009 Oct 3.


Background: Obesity has become a worldwide problem. Surgery has been shown to be a safe and effective therapy. We sought to identify those factors that patients regard as barriers to undergoing a bariatric surgical procedure.

Methods: Morbidly obese patients were asked to complete a 2-page questionnaire during routine outpatient appointments or hospitalization for other reasons. Patients were enrolled from February 2007 to April 2008. The differences between groups were assessed using univariate analysis.

Results: A total of 77 patients (41 women and 36 men) were enrolled. Their median age was 51 years, and 49% of the patients were white, followed by Hispanic (23%), and other ethnicities. Of the 77 patients, 9% were supermorbidly obese (body mass index >50 kg/m(2)), and 62% reported having used dieting to lose weight, with greater reports among the women (P = .01). White patients and those >55 years old were more likely to be using some type of weight loss program. Only 40% were physically active. African Americans reported greater rates of regular exercise (P <.01). Of the 77 patients surveyed, 8% had never heard of bariatric surgery. Finally, only 30% of our patient population considered themselves to be morbidly obese.

Conclusion: The results from the present survey have demonstrated that a lack of insurance coverage is not the main reason for patients not consulting a center to be evaluated for bariatric surgery. Perceived barriers and lack of knowledge exist in both the minds of the general public and physicians.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Insurance Coverage / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States
  • Weight Loss