Researchers from Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia have found that white patients and women who undergo gastric bypass surgery lost more weight than African-Americans and males.

The study, which followed 1,096 gastric bypass patients, was presented at the 29th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Study participants were, on average, 45 years of age, and had an average body mass index (BMI) of 47.6. The researchers discovered that white patients lost approximately 10% more weight than African-Americans, and women lost 10% more weight than men of all races. Other significant factors in predicting weight loss included older age and higher initial weight.

According to the researchers, excess weight loss was 71.9% in whites vs. 63.2% in African-Americans, and 71% in women vs. 63% in men. The team found that resolution or improvement of obesity-related conditions, including sleep apnea, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension, were comparable in all groups.

Ramsey M. Dallal, MD, Chief of Bariatric/Minimally Invasive Surgery at Einstein Healthcare Network, explained:

“The improvements in health status are consistent among all groups, however, for some reason, weight loss itself is variable. Further study is needed to determine what makes some groups more resistant to weight loss than others. It is likely there are many factors, from genetics to environment.”

44.1% of African-American adults in the United States are obese vs. 37.9% of Hispanics and 32.6% of whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 33% of men and 33% of women are now considered obese.

Gastric bypass surgery is a type of weight-loss surgery that involves creating a smaller stomach pouch and bypassing a section of the small intestine. The procedure reduces the amount of food the patient can consume and limits the body’s absorption of nutrients and calories.

Written By Grace Rattue