Pennington Biomedical Research Center (6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, 225-763-2500; www.pbrc.edu) researchers say a large number of extremely obese people can lose 10 percent or more of their body weight without undergoing bariatric surgery.
The study's lead scientist, Dr. Donna Ryan, says the research shows that primary care doctors are capable of helping obese patients lose weight and improve their health. It challenges belief that extreme obesity is too difficult to treat without bariatric surgery, which often is not covered by insurance and can be quite expensive. Nearly 61 percent of patients who participated in Ryan's study lost 5 percent of their body weight, and more than 40 percent lost 10 percent or more.
Ryan and her team recruited physicians in eight cities to use a combination of medication, low-calorie diets and behavior changes to help nearly 400 obese patients who enrolled in the two-year Louisiana Obese Subjects Study trial. Results were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. — Kandace Power Graves