Study shows weight loss surgery patients see reduced risk of COVID complications


DENVER (KDVR) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, being obese can triple the risk of hospitalization due to a COVID infection. But a new study shows successful weight loss surgery can significantly reduce that risk.

“Weight issues are a major driver to COVID related problems,” said Dr. Michael Snyder, medical director of the Bariatric Surgery Center at Rose Medical Center in Denver.

He said a new study by the Cleveland Clinic, published in JAMA, shows the impact of weight loss surgery and significant weight loss.

“They show that you are 46% less likely to need hospitalization, 63% less likely to need oxygen and 60% less likely to have a severe illness. So it’s an incredible result. The idea is, of all the things we can do to be safe with COVID, losing weight, if you have major weight issues, is a critical thing,” Snyder said.

That’s good news for patients like Alicia Williamson. The 33-year-old mother had mini gastric bypass surgery nine months ago and has now lost 130 pounds.

She says COVID is not the reason she got the surgery, but the reduced risk is a great benefit.

“It definitely gives me a feeling of comfort knowing that I’ve reduced my risk of not only getting really sick, but that fact that if I was to get sick. I have a higher chance of my body being able to fight that off,” Williamson said. 

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