Family Members Benefit from Bariatric Surgery
Families work as a unit. The foods you eat, amount of exercise you get daily and the hobbies you engage in are likely shared among your family members. When one member of a family undergoes something big, other members of that family are often influenced by it. This is definitely the case following weight loss surgery.
While you may be the only one in your family who physically undergoes the operation, other members of your household might find that they are losing weight too—especially as you introduce the healthy changes in your life to those you care about.
Obesity in the Family
In 2011, researchers from Stanford School of Medicine found a high weight loss success rate among the spouses, children and other relatives of someone who underwent weight loss surgery. The improvement in weight loss success was strongest among those who live with the person undergoing weight loss surgery.
Children of obese parents are especially susceptible to weight gain. A child between the age of 10 and 14 with at least one obese parent has an 80 percent risk of becoming obese themselves.
There are a collection of factors that influence weight gain, and many have to do with environmental habits—things that family members have a large influence over. These include:
- The foods you eat
- Interpretation of hunger cues
- Size of meals
- Exercise habits
- Beverage choices
- Sleeping habits
Losing Weight as a Family
The same environmental factors that influence the weight gain of family members may explain how one person’s weight loss surgery influences the weight of those around them.
When one member of the family makes changes to their diet, exercise habits and other lifestyle behaviors, others in the household may be encouraged to adopt those habits as well.
The Stanford researchers found that one year after weight loss surgery, family members who had not adopted any sort of surgical or medical weight loss program themselves still experienced an average weight loss of 10 percent. While 10 percent is much less weight loss than what is typically experienced by the person who underwent surgery, this is enough to make a lasting impact on a person’s health.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, a 10 percent weight loss for someone who is obese is likely to offer:
- Improvements to cholesterol levels
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Reduced risk of type-2 diabetes
- Improved heart health
- Increased energy levels
- Reduced risk of anxiety and depression
Following your weight loss operation, try making weight loss a family affair. Encourage your loved ones to exercise with you by suggesting after dinner walks, and discover healthy recipes that will allow you and your family to enjoy meals together.
Your family can be a great source of support as you try to lose weight. Be a source of encouragement and motivation in return by helping them to make healthy changes in their own life as they witness positive changes in yours.