Inequalities in bariatric surgery in Australia: findings from 49 364 obese participants in a prospective cohort study

Nutrition Medicine Diseases Australia

This article investigates the variation, and quantify socioeconomic inequalities, in the uptake of primary bariatric surgery in an obese population in Australia.
Obesity is a major public health challenge for Australia. In the 2007–08 National Health Survey, 24% of Australian adults were reported to be obese and a further 37% overweight. Obesity rates are growing and the continuing increase in severe obesity is of particular concern. It is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and a range of other chronic diseases, including cardiovascular, digestive and musculoskeletal disorders, as well as overall mortality.5 Clinical guidelines recommend bariatric surgery for those with a body mass index (BMI) over 40 kg/m2, or BMI over 35 kg/m2 and comorbid conditions, after non-surgical options have failed.
This surgery is more effective than non-surgical interventions for the treatment of severe obesity, and it is cost-effective. In addition to substantial weight loss, bariatric surgery can lead to improvements in comorbid conditions including lipid abnormalities, obstructive sleep apnoea and joint disease.8-11 Of particular note is its effectiveness in treating type 2 diabetes, with one recent trial showing remission rates of 75%–95% within 2 years after surgery.
*Other authors - Grace Joshy, Louisa R Jorm, James RG Butler and Emily Banks

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