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Examining the Rates of Obesity and Bariatric Surgery in the United States

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to evaluate the change in rate of increase of bariatric surgery performed compared to the growth of obesity and severe obesity in the United States (US).

Materials and Methods

The number of primary adult bariatric procedures performed in the US between 2015 and 2018 was obtained from the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation Quality and Improvement Project (MBSAQIP) database. The US Census database was used to derive age-adjusted obesity and severe obesity prevalence among adults. Prevalence of bariatric surgery, by year, was estimated as the ratio of the number of patients undergoing surgery and the projected number of eligible individuals for that year.

Results

There were 627,386 bariatric procedures performed for body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, of which 73.3% (n = 459,800) were performed for BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2. Although the rate of obesity increased by 3.32% per year during this period (RR = 1.0332 per year increase; 95% CI = 1.0313, 1.0352), the rate of surgery per eligible population increased by only 2.47% (RR = 1.0247 per year increase; 95% CI = 1.0065, 1.0432). The prevalence of severe obesity increased from 7.70% (n = 17,494,910) in 2015 to 9.95% (n = 23,135,039) in 2018 while the prevalence of surgery decreased from 0.588 per 100 eligible population in 2015 to 0.566 per 100 eligible population in 2018.

Conclusion

The rate of utilization has not kept up with the rate of increase in this disease, our costliest illness. There is a strong need to educate the public, healthcare professionals, insurance carriers, and legislators.

Graphical abstract

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Correspondence to Maria S. Altieri.

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Key Points

• The rate of obesity is increasing in the USA

• The rate of utilization of bariatric surgery has not kept up

• There is a need for education of healthcare professionals and public

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Altieri, M.S., Irish, W., Pories, W.J. et al. Examining the Rates of Obesity and Bariatric Surgery in the United States. OBES SURG 31, 4754–4760 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-021-05628-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-021-05628-y

Keywords

  • Eligible population
  • Rate of bariatric surgery
  • Rate of obesity