Dietitians helping gastric bypass patients

Gastric bypass surgery, as well as other bariatric surgical procedures, has becoming increasingly popular as a treatment method for obese patients who have failed to lose weight in the past. As surgical intervention becomes more prevalent and develops a more significant history to review, experts are becoming more aware of what’s needed to ensure long-term weight loss success and health for these patients.

In the April 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, authors looked at the importance of incorporating several health experts into the weight loss plan for bariatric patients. Of special interest was the role that registered dietitians play in helping these patients lose weight, maintain weight loss, and improve their overall health.

Dr. Doina Kulick of University of Nevada School of Medicine writes that, “Surgery represents only one point in the continuum of care for the obese patient. The long-term outcome of bariatric patients relies on their adherence to lifetime dietary and physical activity changes. A comprehensive team approach provides the best care to these patients and RDs play an important and growing role in this process. Because of the pre- and postoperative dietary issues, RDs can assess, monitor and counsel patients in order to improve adherence and reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies.”

Other authors point out that weight loss alone cannot be used to measure success. Even patients who successfully lose weight after bariatric surgery may have developed unhealthy eating habits. This can cause nutritional problems that affect a patient’s quality of life and self esteem. A registered dietitian can help screen for and correct improper eating behaviors, regardless of weight loss success.