A study performed at Kaiser Permanente on different ethnicities who undergo gastric bypass looks at how much certain ethnicities lose, in comparison to others. The study was published in the Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases Journal and found that non-Hispanic white patients were losing more than those who Hispanic or of African American descent. The study looked at patients of the same BMI and getting the same weight loss procedure.

Kaiser Permanente Study on Ethnicities

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente looked through electronic records of thousands of their patients who had weight loss surgery in their Southern California locations. This included 20,000 patients of diverse ethnicities, including Hispanic, African American, and non-Hispanic white patients. They used records from 2004 to 2013, putting them into groups based on when they got the surgery, who performed it, the type of weight loss surgery, their BMI before surgery, and their BMI and health status during the standard follow-up.

Results of the Study

They did not just find that non-Hispanic white patients lost more, but considerably more than other ethnicities. In fact, the non-Hispanic white patients who had gastric bypass lost 63 percent of their weight, while African American patients lost 56 percent of their excess body weight, and Hispanic patients lost 59 percent of their excess body weight*.

Results May Vary.

However, the differences were not the same with all types of weight loss procedures. These numbers are for gastric bypass surgery. With patients getting the sleeve gastrectomy procedure, there were no big differences between the ethnicity groups. The overall average weight loss for gastric bypass patients was losing 59 percent of their excess body weight, while sleeve gastrectomy patients lost an average of 46 percent of their excess body weight.

Why Did They Choose This Study?

Researchers wanted to look at obesity and weight loss among different ethnicities, and how that was impacted by weight loss surgery. Approximately 34 percent of the adult U.S. population is obese with a BMI of 30 or higher, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These numbers tend to be higher among certain ethnicities, including Hispanic and black populations. The African American population in the U.S. has the highest level of obesity at 50 percent, while Hispanic is 39 percent and the non-Hispanic white population is slightly less at 32 percent. Researchers were concerned about the health risks of obesity, like stroke, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. They also take note of the ethnicity of patients when they go in for their weight loss surgery and wanted to find out what the impact of surgery was on non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and black patients.

While certain ethnicity groups had a lower success rate overall following weight loss surgery, they still lost a good deal of their excess weight and had the same health benefits as the non-Hispanic white population. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente want to be sure patients understand that this is a long-term commitment, but one that has excellent benefits regardless of weight, age or ethnicity. Everyone who gets bariatric surgery has the chance to a better, longer, and healthier life. They begin eating better, exercising more, having an improved hormonal balance, and simply living a healthier life through weight loss. During follow-ups, most patients did keep off their weight following surgery, regardless of what the percentage of weight loss between the different ethnicities. All patients in this study had lost a large percentage of their excess weight, many of whom were already noticing the physical changes in their body and how the surgery was benefiting them. For obesity, weight loss surgery is a great way to improve the body and avoid more serious complications from obesity.

* Results may vary