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Ethnic differences in obesity and surgical weight loss studies

Clinical data from ethnic differences in obesity and surgical weight loss studies are highlighted below.

The impact of race on weight loss after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
Harvin et al. Jan 2008
PubMed abstract

BACKGROUND: Gastric bypass surgery for morbid obesity has dramatically increased in volume over the past decade. Caucasian patients have been noted previously to lose more weight after bariatric surgery than African-Americans patients. Data regarding predictors of maintaining weight loss after surgery are minimal. We sought to determine predictors of long-term weight loss after bariatric surgery.

METHODS: Retrospective analysis using a multivariate logistic regression model of all patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina from May 1993 to December 2004 for whom 2 years of follow-up data was available. Our dependent variable was the percentage of weight lost from baseline, dichotomized at +/-35%. Our primary independent variable was race, defined as Caucasian, African-American, or other. Relevant covariates were added to the model to control for their potential effects on outcome.

RESULTS: One hundred eleven patients (17 male/94 female; 85% Caucasian, mean age 44 years (range 18-68 years). In our model, Caucasian subjects (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 7.60, 95% confidence intervals [95%CI] = 1.83-31.5) and late post surgical complications (adjusted OR = 2.67, 95%CI = 1.05-6.80) significantly predicted weight loss at 2 years, after controlling for relevant confounders. Other covariates did not significantly impact the model.

CONCLUSION: Race and late post surgical complications significantly impacted the percentage of weight loss at 2 years for patients undergoing Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery at our institution. Future research should be directed at determining potential genetic and/or social reasons for these differences.

Weight loss and health outcomes in African Americans and whites after gastric bypass surgery.
Anderson et al. Jun 2007
PubMed abstract

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to describe differences in weight loss, dietary intake, and cardiovascular risk factors between white and African-American patients after gastric bypass (GBP).

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: This was a retrospective database review of a sample of 84 adult patients (24 African-American and 60 white women and men) between the ages of 33 and 53 years. All subjects had GBP surgery in 2001 at the Bariatric Surgery Program at Boston Medical Center in Boston, MA, and were followed for one year postoperatively. Patients were excluded if weight data were missing at baseline, 3 months, or 1 year after GBP. A total of 9 African Americans and 41 whites provided data at all 3 time-points and were included in the study. Differences in weight loss, diet, and cardiovascular risk factors were analyzed.

RESULTS: There were no differences in baseline characteristics between African Americans and whites. Mean weight loss for the entire sample was 36 +/- 9%, with a range of 8% to 54% relative to initial body weight. Whites lost more weight (39 +/- 8%) than African Americans (26 +/- 10%) (p < 0.05). Dietary parameters, as well as improvements in blood pressure and lipid profiles, were similar in the two racial groups.

DISCUSSION: Differences in weight loss between severely obese African Americans and whites undergoing open GBP are unlikely to be related to postoperative dietary practices. Our data are consistent with previous reports implicating metabolic differences between the two racial groups.

Are African-Americans as successful as Caucasians after laparoscopic gastric bypass?
Madan et al. Apr 2007
PubMed abstract

BACKGROUND: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (LRYGBP) has been demonstrated to provide weight loss comparable to open gastric bypass. It has been suggested that African-Americans (AA) are not as successful as Caucasians (CA) after bariatric surgery. Our hypothesis was that AAs are just as successful as CA after LRYGBP in terms of weight loss and comorbidity improvement.

METHODS: A retrospective chart review was performed on all AA and CA patients who underwent LRYGBP for a 6-month period. Success after LRYGBP [defined as (1) 25% loss of preoperative weight, (2) 50% excess weight loss (EWL), or (3) weight loss to within 50% ideal weight] was compared by ethnicity.

RESULTS: 102 patients were included in this study. 97 patients (30 AA patients and 67 CA patients) had at least 1-year follow-up data available. Preoperative data did not differ between both groups. There was a statistically significant difference in %EWL between AA and CA (66% vs 74%; P<0.05). However, there was no ethnic difference in the percentage of patients with successful weight loss (as defined by any of the above 3 criteria). Furthermore, there was no statistical difference between the percentages of AA and CA patients who had improved or resolved diabetes and hypertension.

CONCLUSIONS: LRYGBP offers good weight loss in all patients. While there may be greater %EWL in CA patients, no ethnic difference in successful weight loss exists. More importantly, co-morbidities improve or resolve equally between AA and CA patients. LRYGBP should be considered successful in AA patients.

Ethnic differences in obesity and surgical weight loss between African-American and Caucasian females.
Buffington et al. Feb 2006
PubMed abstract

BACKGROUND: In the general population, African-American females are more obese and resistant to weight loss than Caucasian women. In the present study, we examined the severity of obesity among morbidly obese African-American and Caucasian females, studied the effectiveness of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGBP), and sought to identify factors contributing to obesity and weight loss.

METHODS: The study population included 153 morbidly obese females randomly selected from our general bariatric patient population. Anthropometric measurements consisted of body weight, body mass index (BMI), excess weight, and waist, hip, thigh, and neck circumferences. Factors that may contribute to obesity included age, age of obesity onset, number of childbirths, calorie intake, diet composition, and degree of psychological distress. The effects of RYBGP were studied in weight-matched groups of African-American and Caucasian females (n=37 per group) at weight loss nadir, i.e. 12 to 18 months after surgery.

RESULTS: We found that morbid obesity is more severe among African-American than Caucasian females. The greater degree of obesity of African-American, as compared to Caucasian, females is not due to ethnic differences in calorie intake, diet composition, age or age of obesity onset, number of childbirths, and psychological distress. RYGBP is less effective in reducing body fat and, consequently, excess body weight of the African-American than the Caucasian females, suggesting possible ethnic differences in fat metabolism.

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