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Why Do More Women Than Men Have Weight-Loss Surgery?

Last Updated: May 06, 2015.

Women may possess greater overall awareness of the risks posed by obesity, study finds.

WEDNESDAY, May 6, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests obese women might feel more compelled to have weight-loss surgery than their male counterparts do.

Eighty percent of weight-loss surgery patients in the United States are women, the study authors said.


After sifting through data on more than 190,000 patients who had weight-loss procedures (or "bariatric" surgery) between 1998 and 2010, the investigators were able to identify a number of factors that might explain the divide.

For one, women seem to have a greater overall awareness of the risks posed by obesity, and are generally much less satisfied with their health status than men, the researchers found.

In addition, a greater number of women appear to be eligible for surgery than men. Also, men tend to wait until they get older -- and presumably sicker -- before considering the option, with statistics showing that the gender gap for weight-loss procedures actually narrows as men enter their 70s, the researchers said.

"The results of this study should raise awareness in men about the complications that obesity brings to their health," senior study author Dr. Santiago Horgan, chief of the division of minimally invasive surgery at the University of California, San Diego, said in a university news release.

"Even though we have a 50-50 percent split in obesity rates among U.S. men and women, women get 80 percent of the bariatric surgeries and men only 20 percent," he said. "That's a very uneven distribution."

Horgan and his colleagues reported their findings recently in the Journal of Laparoendoscopic & Advanced Surgical Techniques.

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health for more on weight-loss surgery.

SOURCE: University of California, San Diego, news release, April 29, 2015

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