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Perceptions of surgery

US survey reveals views on dieting vs surgery

56.5% of respondents have no idea of their health insurance coverage for weight loss surgery

The results from a US survey that asked participants to share their thoughts on the safety and effectiveness of bariatric surgery compared to the success rate from commercial diet programmes has reported that a majority perceive surgery as either safe or very safe.

"Surgical weight loss procedures such as the Lap Band or the gastric sleeve have often been misconceived as dangerous, and nearly half of the responses admitted to having this opinion," said Dr Shawn Garber, Founder and President of the New York Bariatric Group, who carried out the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey. "These survey results will help us educate the American population on the misconceptions of commercial dieting vs. weight loss surgery procedures and stress that weight loss surgery performed by experts in the field of bariatric surgery is very safe. In fact, there are fewer risks involved with surgical weight loss procedures as there are with staying obese and suffering from multiple life threatening health issues."

The survey entitled "Commercial Dieting vs. Surgery: Who wins the Weight Loss battle?" asked over 2,000 men and women across the US to share their perspective towards commercial weight loss programs vs. surgical weight loss procedures. Key results of the survey revealed:

  • •61.2% of people who took the survey were either overweight or obese and would likely qualify for weight loss surgery
  • 58% of people said they have considered some sort of weight loss, yet, 46% of people don't have an opinion on weight-loss programs
  • 46% of people said they did not have an opinion on weight loss programmes, 23.5% of people chose Weight Watchers, while only 6.3% would consider weight loss surgery
  • When participants were asked how much weight loss the average person maintained 2 years after completing a commercial weight loss programme, more than half said 5-15lbs
  • When they were asked how much weight loss the average person maintained 2 years after receiving weight loss surgery, 57.6% said between 30-80lbs
  • 41.5% of people perceives weight-loss surgery as the best solution for those who have a serious weight-related issue, while 35.5% of people believe that people should be able to diet and exercise long term, and not resort to surgery
  • 52.5% of respondents perceive weight loss surgery as either safe or very safe, while 47.5% still believe it's not very safe or extremely dangerous
  • 56.5% of respondents have no idea of their health insurance coverage for weight loss surgery and 25.7% would assume that their health insurance does not cover weight loss surgery

"One of the most interesting results we found was that 56.5% of respondents have no idea of their health insurance coverage. As obesity is becoming a serious, common health threat and is now being formally recognized as a disease, more insurance companies are covering bariatric procedures because of their effectiveness. That said, insurance companies should be doing more to make their members aware of the coverage available for bariatric surgery," said Garber. "I also find it interesting that 41.5% of people perceive weight-loss surgery as the best solution for those who have a serious weight-related issue, while 35.5% of people believe that people should be able to diet and exercise long-term, and not resort to surgery. This proves that there is a common belief that diets work long-term, when in fact, 95% of the time, they do not work for those who suffer from obesity."

The New York Bariatric Group will be executing a tailored and more focused marketing initiative to address some of the concerns and findings reported in the survey.

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