Bariatric surgery in young adults: a multicenter study into weight loss, dietary adherence, and quality of life

Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2017 Jul;13(7):1204-1210. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2017.02.026. Epub 2017 Mar 7.


Background: Numerous studies have demonstrated that bariatric surgery is an effective intervention for morbid obesity, but study samples are characterized by an underrepresentation of young adult patients.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate weight loss, dietary adherence, and quality of life (QoL) in a multicenter, young adult sample, in the first 6 years after bariatric surgery.

Setting: Four general hospitals in the Netherlands.

Methods: A total of 184 young adult patients who underwent bariatric surgery between 6 and 74 months previously at the age of 18 to 24 years were included, interviewed by phone, and sent questionnaires assessing postoperative weight, QoL, and lifestyle behaviors including dietary adherence. Complete data were available for those 96 patients who returned the questionnaires.

Results: Mean percent weight loss was 30.2 (SD 10.7) for laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and 35.6 (SD 6.9) for laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. Adherence to postoperative dietary recommendations declined over the years (r = -.25, P = .02) and explained 8.3% of the variance in weight loss (r = .29, P = .005). QoL scores lagged behind national norms for young adults and were largely unrelated to weight loss. A quarter of patients (25%) turned out to be not in education, employment, or training and 38% had used mental healthcare services since surgery, which occurred independent of weight loss and concurred with poorer QoL.

Conclusion: Young adult patients achieve weight loss comparable to adult patients after bariatric surgery. However, postoperative adherence to behavioral recommendations and psychosocial functioning clearly demonstrate room for improvement and require adjunctive interventions.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Dietary adherence; Gastric bypass; Psychosocial functioning; Quality of life; Sleeve gastrectomy; Weight loss; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bariatric Surgery*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Medication Adherence
  • Mental Health
  • Netherlands
  • Obesity, Morbid / diet therapy
  • Obesity, Morbid / psychology
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Postoperative Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*
  • Young Adult