Married people who undergo weight-loss surgery not only lose less weight compared to their single peers, the procedure may also adversely affect a couple’s relationship, according to a new study.
Spouses ideally could play a key role in helping patients lose pounds and keep them off after weight-loss surgery, but being married might actually work against patients, researchers said.
The impact of this surgery extends to a person’s romantic relationships and likely to the entire family, they said.
The researchers from Ohio State University reviewed 13 studies on weight-loss surgery and found that, in some cases, married patients lost less weight than their single peers. They also discovered evidence that a married couple’s relationship could deteriorate post-surgery.
“Food is so central to family routines and celebrations and when you undergo a surgery that so vastly impacts your ability to eat as you did before, family members take notice,” said Megan Ferriby from Ohio State University.
The review included studies published between 1990 and 2014. Researchers divided those efforts into two categories. First, they looked at research on the influence of marriage on weight loss after surgery. They then examined the effects of surgery on the quality of the marital relationship.
Four of six studies that addressed marriage and weight loss showed that the patients who were married lost less weight. One of the studies, which looked at 180 gastric-bypass patients, showed that married surgical patients were 2.6 times more likely to have not reached their goal weight a year after surgery.
Another study showed unmarried patients were 2.7 times more likely to stick with post-surgical diet and exercise goals. The other two studies in the category showed no connection between marital status and amount lost. None of the studies showed better weight loss for married patients.
When the researchers looked at data on relationship quality in 10 studies, they found evidence that some patients’ marriages appeared to deteriorate after surgery.
One study found husbands grew more dissatisfied after wives’ surgery, especially if the wife became more assertive.
The results illustrate the importance of working with the patient’s family throughout the surgery process, researchers said. About 65% of people seeking weight-loss surgery are married. Several surgical options are now available to obese patients.
Most of those in the studies underwent gastric bypass, in which surgeons create a smaller stomach and bypass part of the digestive tract.
The findings were published in the journal Obesity Surgery.
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