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If there’s a problem, it’s easier and more effective to take care of the problem sooner than later. We all understand this general principle, even if we forget to put it to work sometimes. An article was recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that shows the same idea is true for Metabolic Obesity Disease.

Researchers found that patients had better long term weight results when they started at a Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 40. This makes sense because patients who wait until they are extremely overweight are often ill with the obesity disease so their metabolism is slower and so they have less chance of returning to full health.

Generally speaking, the right approach to a medical disease is to begin with simple and low risk interventions (like diet alteration, or exercise), to move toward more intense interventions if the simple ones don’t work (for example, using appetite suppressing meds), and then to move on interventional therapy like surgery if the condition persists. In other words, if plan A, B, and C fail to fix the problem then it’s logical to take a serious look at plan D. Once we understand that obesity is really a disease, then it makes sense to use every safe/sustainable tool that we have. The article confirms a favorable trend that’s been showing up over the last 5 years or so.

We’ve been gradually seeing people at a younger age and with less disease burden who are thinking about interventions such as Gastric Sleeve or Gastric Bypass. This is a much better situation that the “old school” traditional approach when we only got to meet patients who’ve suffered years of Diabetes or had their knees completely destroyed, or require oxygen for breathing.

There’s still hope for people with advanced Obesity Disease, but surgery is safer and outcomes are much better for people who have not yet suffered permanent damage from the obesity. A summary of this important article is online here:

Factors Associated With Achieving a Body Mass Index of Less Than 30 After Bariatric Surgery