Bariatric surgery was associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes in obese men and women for up to seven years after the procedure in a report published byThe Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Senior author Professor Martin C. Gulliford, FFPH, and colleagues found that undergoing laparoscopic adjustable banding, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric bypass reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by approximately 80% in obese participants enrolled from family practices in the United Kingdom. 

“Our results suggest that bariatric surgery may be a highly effective method of preventing the onset of new diabetes in men and women with severe obesity,” announced Gulliford in a statement issued byThe Lancet.

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“We need to understand how weight-loss surgery can be used, together with interventions to increase physical activity and promote healthy eating, as part of an overall diabetes prevention strategy.”

The researchers studied 2,167 obese adults without diabetes who underwent laparoscopic adjustable banding, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric bypass.

Also evaluated were an equivalent number of controls who were matched for age (20 to 100 years), sex, body mass index (≥30 kg/m²), and hemoglobin A1c levels, but who did not have surgery or other treatments for obesity. 

After a maximum of seven years of follow-up, 38 of the patients who underwent a bariatric procedure developed diabetes, compared with 177 patients who had no treatment for obesity.

The incidence of new diabetes diagnoses was 5.7 per 1,000 person-years with bariatric surgery and 28.2 per 1,000 person-years without obesity treatment, for a reduction in risk for developing diabetes of approximately 80%, even after controlling for factors including smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.