Bariatric Support Groups Predicts Long-term Weight Loss

Obes Surg. 2020 Jun;30(6):2118-2123. doi: 10.1007/s11695-020-04434-2.


Background: Support groups are an integral part of bariatric surgery (BS) programs yet there is limited evidence for an association between support group attendance and BS weight outcomes.

Settings: University Hospital, Spain.

Objectives: This study examined the effect of support group attendance on weight loss (WL) at short- and long-term follow-up (FU) following BS.

Methods: Participants were 531 (mean body mass index (BMI) = 45.8 (5.4) kg/m2; mean age 45.9 (11.1) years, 76.4% females) who underwent BS (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB): 233 (43.8%); sleeve gastrectomy (SG): 298 (56.2%)) in our clinic. The bariatric support group program (BSGP) consisted of two subprograms: Novel-BSGP (N-BSGP; first 12 months after surgery) and Experienced-BSGP (E-BSGP; FU between 12 months 5 years after BS).

Results: Three hundred and twenty-three (60.8%) and 129 (24.3%) participants attended at least one session of N-BSGP and E-BSGP, respectively. Linear regression analyses showed that number of sessions attended during year 1 predicted percent total body WL (%TBWL (β = 0.381, p < 0.001)) and percent excess WL (%EWL (β = 0.928, p < 0.001)) at one year and number of sessions attended during years 2-5 were positively related to %TBWL and %EWL achieved at 5 years (%EWL: β = 0.162 (p = 0.014) and %TBWL: β = 0.378 (p = 0.013)) respectively.

Conclusion: We observed a significant beneficial effect of a post-surgical support group program on short- and long-term body WL after BS.

Keywords: Bariatric surgery; Multidisciplinary team; Peer support; Weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Gastrectomy
  • Gastric Bypass*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Self-Help Groups
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss