Do clinical and behavioural correlates of obese patients seeking bariatric surgery differ from those of individuals involved in conservative weight loss programme?

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Clinical practice has suggested that, in severely obese patients seeking bariatric surgery, clinical conditions, behavioural characteristics and psychological status might all differ from those of their counterparts starting conventional conservative therapy.


Two groups of obese patients with closely similar body mass values were considered. The first group included individuals voluntarily and spontaneously seeking biliopancreatic diversion and the second group comprised patients at the beginning of a weight loss programme. After anthropometric and metabolic evaluation, the patients underwent an alimentary interview; eating behaviour and psychological status were assessed by Three Factor Eating Questionnaire and by Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS).


Among bariatric candidates, a greater number of individuals with type 2 diabetes and dyslipidaemia and high tendency to disinhibition and susceptibility to hunger scores was observed, whereas the other aspects of eating pattern were essentially similar. In the two groups, no difference in TAS score and or number of patients with alexithymic traits was observed. Finally, a logistic regression model showed that only age and metabolic derangement predicted the bariatric option, whereas eating behaviour or psychological status did not influence individual therapeutic choice.


Independently of the degree of obesity, bariatric surgery was requested by the more metabolically deranged patients, whereas, in the surgical candidates, the eating pattern and psychological conditions were very similar to those of obese persons at the beginning of a conservative weight loss programme. These results suggest a highly realistic and practical attitude in severely obese patients towards obesity and bariatric surgery.

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