Gastric bypass in a low-income, inner-city population: Eating disturbances and weight loss

Janet D. Latner, Scott Wetzler, Elliot R. Goodman, Juliet Glinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the prevalence of eating disturbances and psychiatric disorders among extremely obese patients before and after gastric bypass surgery and to examine the relationship between these disturbances and weight outcomes. Research Methods and Procedures: Sixty-five women patients (ages 19 to 67) with a mean BMI of 54.1 were assessed by semistructured psychiatric interview before surgery and by telephone interview after surgery (mean follow-up: 16.4 months) to determine psychiatric status, eating disturbances, and weight and health-related variables. Results: Patients lost a mean of 71% of their excess BMI, with significantly poorer weight loss outcomes among African Americans. Psychiatric disorders remained prevalent before (37%) and after (41%) surgery. In contrast, binge eating disorder dropped from 48% to 0%. Psychiatric diagnosis did not affect weight outcomes. Instead, more frequent preoperative binge eating, along with greater initial BMI, follow-up length, and postoperative exercise, predicted greater BMI loss. Postsurgical health behaviors (exercise and smoking) and nocturnal eating episodes were also linked to weight loss. Exercise frequency increased and smoking frequency tended to decrease after surgery. Discussion: These findings indicated that eating and psychiatric disturbances did not inhibit weight loss after gastric bypass and should not contraindicate surgery. Prior binge eating, eliminated after surgery, predicted BMI loss and, thus, may have previously been a maintaining factor in the obesity of these patients. The association between health behaviors and outcome suggests possible targets for intervention to improve surgical results. Poorer outcomes among African Americans indicate that these patients should be closely monitored and supported after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-961
Number of pages6
JournalObesity research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2004


  • Bariatric surgery
  • Eating disturbances
  • Ethnicity
  • Health behavior
  • Mental illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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