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Bariatric Surgery Helps People Who Are Less Obese

People With BMI Below 35 Lost a Greater Percentage of Excess Weight, Had Diabetes Go Into Remission

Bariatric Surgery: Perspective

Lowering the bar on bariatric surgery is not embraced by everyone. "I don't believe it is appropriate for people who are below a BMI of 35," says Jenn Berman, PsyD, a Beverly Hills, Calif., marriage and family therapist. She counsels patients with eating disorders and people who have had the surgery.

She has seen some patients ''out-eat'' the surgery, eating too much and undoing the benefits.

Eating disorders such as bulimia have to be addressed before the surgery, she says. "I believe that bariatric surgery is appropriate for people who are morbidly obese who have tried absolutely everything else and have been through extensive psychological screening to rule out eating disorders," she says.

However, Bruce Wolfe, MD, president of the American Society for Bariatric & Metabolic Surgery, takes another view. "What was remarkable in this trial was that the induction of remission of the diabetes was complete in all those [with the lowest BMI]," he says.

The study adds some valuable information about the surgery for a group that experts know little about, says Wolfe, a professor of surgery at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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