The holiday season presents countless opportunities to overindulge, making it a potentially dangerous time of year for people battling obesity.

Obesity — defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above — can lead to serious health conditions. According to bariatric surgeon Dr. Laura Choi, director of the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center at Baytown, excess weight increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems and developing breast, colon and other cancers and also plays a role in increased stroke risk.

Choi and bariatric surgeon Kendell Sowards, MD host a free weight loss seminar on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital to discuss the full range of weight loss surgery options and can help determine if surgery is right for you. 

Bariatric surgery procedures restrict the amount of food that can be eaten and/or changes the route food takes through the body so that less food is absorbed. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, approximately 100,000 such surgeries are performed each year in the U.S. 

The weight management center offers a full spectrum of options to help patients attempting to improve their overall health by losing weight or better manage diabetes. The center uses a multidisciplinary team of dietitians, diabetes specialists, physicians, bariatric surgeons and counselors to help patients manage their weight through non-surgical and surgical methods.

According to Sowards, for patients who qualify, surgery has excellent outcomes and can even greatly improve type 2 diabetes. In fact, some patients have experienced complete remission after surgery. She adds that the center offers comprehensive after-care programs that focus on nutrition, counseling and exercise to help patients adjust to the changes — both physical and emotional — following surgery. 

Choi emphasizes that patients must be willing to make major lifestyle and diet changes in order to achieve the best results following any bariatric procedure.

The seminar is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the new conference center at the hospital’s Garth campus. For more information and to register, visit, or call 281-428-2273.


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