Few aspects of modern life are as emotionally charged as the conversation surrounding weight loss and diet. Whether it’s the perception that excess weight is a “will power” issue, or the extreme negativity of online “body shaming,” the discussion of weight and its impact on our health can quickly become heated.

But one component that often gets lost in the rhetoric is the fact that obesity can lead to very dire health conditions. Research indicates obesity—defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above—is linked to the development of a variety of potentially serious medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

Bariatric surgery procedures restrict the amount of food you can eat and/or changes the route food takes through your 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 Houston Methodist Weight Management Center-Baytown offers personalized care through medical nutritional counseling and bariatric (weight loss) surgery for patients affected by conditions attributed to obesity 

But is it right for you? Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital bariatric surgeons Dr. Laura Choi and Kendell Sowards, MD host a free weight loss surgery seminar on Tuesday, May 14 to provide information on the full range of weight loss surgical options to those seeking to lose weight and improve their health.

“Weight loss surgery helps patients reduce their calorie intake, but the procedures are combined with counseling and dietary education to help patients learn about their own eating habits and stay fit after they lose weight,” Choi said.

Patients whose BMI is 40 and above are eligible for bariatric surgery, while those whose BMI is in the 35-40 range are also eligible if they have existing medical conditions considered to be caused by or associated with obesity. 

The most commonly performed weight loss surgery procedures are the sleeve gastrectomy, which re-shapes the stomach into a thin, sleeve-shaped organ that helps to limit the amount of food that can be consumed at a given time, and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. With this surgery, part of the stomach is stapled off, leaving a small pouch that will only hold a few ounces of food. The digestive tract is redirected to bypass the upper small intestine, which reduces total calories absorbed.

“The Weight Management Center offers comprehensive nutritional and counseling after-care programs to help our patients adjust to the physical and emotional changes that frequently occur post-surgery,” Sowards said. “It is vital that patients be willing to make major lifestyle and dietary changes in order to achieve optimal results following any bariatric surgery procedure.”

The seminar takes place from 6 to 7 p.m. in Houston Methodist Baytown’s CRCU Community Room. For more information and to register, visit houstonmethodist.org/events, or call 281-428-2273.

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