Background

Little research has examined functional impairment outcomes following bariatric surgery. This study examined functional impairment due to weight and eating concerns in several life domains after bariatric surgery.

Methods

Participants (N=145) were sleeve gastrectomy patients seeking treatment for eating/weight concerns approximately six months after bariatric surgery. Mean age and BMI were 45.4 (SD=11.1) years and 37.7 (SD=7.2) kg/m2, respectively. Participants completed psychometrically-established measures of functional impairment, depressive symptoms, and eating-disorder psychopathology.

Results

Overall, 9.2% to 28% reported functional impairment due specifically to weight and 8.3% to 20.5% reported functional impairment due specifically to eating. Domains most impacted due to weight were social (28%), ability to move around (26.5%), family/home (25.8%), and finances (20.5%). Domains most impacted by eating were social (20.5%), family/home (18.2%), work (15.3%), and ability to move around (15.3%). Interpersonal and spiritual/religious domains were the least impacted by weight or eating, although 8.3% to 10.6% reported functional impairment in these domains. 12.2% and 17.6% reported missing work due to weight and eating concerns, respectively, while 20.6% and 27.3% reported impaired functioning at work due to weight and eating concerns, respectively, during the past month. Greater impairment was associated significantly with greater BMI, eating-disorder psychopathology, and depressive symptoms.

Conclusions

Among individuals seeking treatment for eating/weight concerns roughly six months after bariatric surgery, the majority did not report functional impairment. Roughly 25%, however, reported functional impairment in several life domains including impaired functioning at work and missed work days. This subgroup may benefit from specific interventions to improve functioning soon after surgery which may, in turn, contribute to improving longer-term weight and psychosocial outcomes.