Current Gastroenterology Reports

, Volume 7, Issue 6, pp 451-454

First online:

Obesity in the United States: Is there a quick fix? Pros and cons of bariatric surgery from the adult perspective

  • Leena KhaitanAffiliated withEmory University School of Medicine
  • , C. Daniel SmithAffiliated withEmory University School of Medicine

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Over 60% of the American population is either overweight or obese. Conventional treatment through decreased caloric intake and increased physical activity has been minimally effective in achieving sustained weight loss. Pharmacotherapies are effective in inducing some weight loss; however, lost weight is regained once the medications are stopped. Surgical weight loss is the only treatment that has been demonstrated to achieve durable weight loss, with sustained weight loss for at least 14 years and improvements in or complete resolution of associated comorbidities and improved quality of life. Based on the National Institutes of Health 1991 Consensus Conference guidelines, 16 million Americans are currently potential candidates for weight loss surgery. Although this is an effective treatment for appropriate candidates in the short term, education on nutrition and increased physical activity is more likely to be effective over the long term. One hopes that current research efforts in obesity and public awareness will lead to a decrease in the prevalence of this disease.