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Effect of Ethnicity on Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery



Previous studies have reported better weight loss after bariatric surgery among non-Hispanic whites (NHW) versus non-Hispanic blacks (NHB) and Hispanics. The majority of these studies took place in areas where NHW are the majority. This study aimed to compare post-surgery weight outcomes by ethnicity in a geographic area where Hispanics are the majority.


A retrospective medical chart review of 3268 patients (1561 Hispanic, 660 NHB, and 1047 NHW) who underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) or Adjustable Gastric Band (AGB) placement from 2002 to 2012 were analyzed. Percentages of excess weight loss (EWL) and body mass index (BMI) changes at 6, 12, and 24 months post-surgery were compared by ethnic group.


At 6 months, EWL was significantly different by ethnicity (52.7 ± 15.9 Hispanics, 49.7 ± 15.7 NHW, 43.0 ± 17.3 NHB, P < 0.001). These differences remained at 1 year (66.0 ± 20.3 Hispanics, 64.0 ± 20.3 NHW, 54.1 ± 21.3 NHB, P < 0.001) and 2 years (68.6 ± 24.1 Hispanics, 69.5 ± 21.2 NHW, 57.6 ± 25.4 NHB, P < 0.001). Ethnic group changes in BMI were similar to EWL changes. Analysis stratified by gender, type of surgery, and BMI category (<40, 40–49.99, ≥50 kg/m2) showed lower EWL in NHB than Hispanics and NHW. NHW had higher EWL than Hispanics only when they underwent AGB and had a BMI >40 kg/m2.


Up to 2 years after RYGB, mean EWL and BMI reduction patterns are similar among NHW and Hispanics and significantly better than NHB. These patterns were comparable but not as pronounced among patients with AGB surgery. Our findings suggest that social factors may contribute to successful weight loss after bariatric surgery.

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Conflict of Interest

All contributing authors, Zhamak Khorgami, MD; Kristopher L Arheart, Ed. D; Chi Zhang, MD; Sarah E Messiah, Ph.D., MPH; and Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz, MD, declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human and Animal Rights

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Statement of Informed Consent

Because our study was a retrospective database review, our Institutional Review Board did not require individual informed consent.

Grant Information

We did not receive any fund or grant for this research.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Nestor de la Cruz-Muñoz.

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Khorgami, Z., Arheart, K.L., Zhang, C. et al. Effect of Ethnicity on Weight Loss After Bariatric Surgery. OBES SURG 25, 769–776 (2015).

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  • Morbid obesity
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight loss
  • Outcome