The current study aimed to test if racial disparities in weight loss outcomes between African American and Caucasian patients who underwent bariatric surgery were due to pre-surgical BMI differences.
Primary data was collected from pre-surgical evaluations conducted at a midwestern hospital. A retrospective chart review was conducted of 136 patients. Patient age and race, type of procedure, and pre- and 1-year post-surgical BMI were collected.
African American patients were less likely to undergo bariatric surgery compared with Caucasian patients. Caucasian patients undergoing Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) had a greater change in BMI compared with African American patients who underwent RYGB. Significant differences in weight loss outcomes were not found among patients who underwent the sleeve gastrectomy. Race was not related to pre-surgical BMI or procedure type.
Despite pre-surgical BMI typically being higher among African American patients, this was not found in the current study. Pre-surgical BMI may not explain the racial disparities in weight loss post-bariatric surgery that are found between African American and Caucasian patients. Future studies should consider psychosocial, environmental, and cultural influences on racial disparities.