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Obesity on the rise: The influence of knowledge base and health locus of control on bariatric surgery utilization in young adults

1 July 2014


Obesity is a leading public health concern on a worldwide scale for both adults and children. Problems associated with obesity in the research identify psychological, social, physical, medical, and societal domains. Behavioral and pharmacotherapy interventions tend to have insufficient results whereas weight loss achieved after bariatric surgery is, on average, 100 lb. In addition surgery can be effective in controlling some comorbid conditions, such as Type II Diabetes. Despite the success of bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss, rates indicate that 1% of individuals classified as morbidly obese are eligible to undergo bariatric surgery. Although there are known systematic barriers preventing individuals accessing surgery, the literature does not adequately address what personal barriers may exist or what personal factors precipitate individuals to choose bariatric surgery. This exploratory study examined potential relationships that exist between individuals’ knowledge of bariatric surgery, the familiarity people have with various forms of bariatric surgery, and health loci of control. There were three primary goals. The first was to examine the relationship between knowledge and familiarity of bariatric surgery and a likelihood of engaging in this surgery. The second goal was to explore the relationship between people’s health loci of control and their likelihood of undergoing bariatric surgery. The third goal was to explore relationships between demographic characteristics, knowledge and familiarity of bariatric surgery, health locus of control, and the reported likelihood to engage in bariatric surgery. Further, differences in the likelihood to undergo bariatric surgery between the three BMI weight classifications were explored. The only relationships the research suggested were associations for demographic characteristics (age, BMI, weight classification) and knowledge and familiarity bariatric surgery. Because the major limitation of the study was the small sample size (n=38), it is recommended further research is necessary to expand upon the current findings.


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