More than two-thirds of the U.S. population experiences obesity, and the numbers continue to increase. The resolutions happen every New Year’s Day – “This is the year I’m taking off those extra pounds.” 

Obesity increases health risks because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among others. According to the National Institutes of Health, rates of obesity are continuing an upward trend:

• Almost 3 in 4 men (73.7 percent) were considered to be overweight or have obesity; and about 2 in 3 women (66.9) were considered to be overweight or have obesity.

• Obesity was higher in women (about 40 percent) than men (35 percent)

• Extreme obesity was higher in women (9.9 percent) than men (5.5 percent) 

When diet, exercise and medications have failed, it may be time to consider weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery. Weight loss surgery may provide effective, lasting relief from severe obesity for appropriate patients, according to Yolanda Farmer, regional director of bariatric and general surgery at Abrazo Health. 

“Weight loss surgery is designed to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and it can help alleviate many other obesity-related conditions like heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, depression and more,” said Farmer.

Weight loss surgery is considered safe, but like any surgery, it does have risks, notes Farmer. “Those who are considering surgical weight loss are encouraged to consult with their personal physician about the risks and benefits,” she says.

“By changing your gastrointestinal anatomy, certain bariatric procedures affect the production of intestinal hormones in a way that reduces hunger and appetite and increases feelings of fullness. The end result is reduction in the desire to eat and in the frequency of eating,” said Farmer. “Unlike dietary weight loss, surgical weight loss has a higher chance of lasting because an appropriate energy balance is created.”

The National Institutes of Health, as well as the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery also recommend that surgery be performed by a board certified surgeon with specialized experience/training in bariatric and metabolic surgery, and at a center that has a multidisciplinary team of experts for follow-up care.

Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide both the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of obese patients and the support and resources necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, both pre- and post-operatively, according to Farmer. 

“Regardless of which bariatric surgery procedure you and your surgeon decide is best for you, it is important to remember that bariatric surgery is a tool. Weight loss success also depends on many other important factors, such as nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and more. 

Abrazo Health offers bariatric weight loss programs serving the Valley and beyond with compassionate weight loss team members and bariatric physicians who offer personalized weight loss wellness plans.

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus Surgical Weight Loss Informational Seminar

Saturday, Jan. 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Speaker: Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Daniel T. Fang

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus

3929 E. Bell Rd., Phoenix, Ariz. 85032 

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus Surgical Weight Loss Informational Seminar

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 6-7 p.m.

Speaker: Bariatric Surgeon Dr. William Arnold

Abrazo Arrowhead Campus Physician Plaza Palo Verde Room

18699 N. 67th Ave., Glendale, Ariz. 85308 

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus Weight Loss Surgery Support Group

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Speaker: Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Daniel T. Fang

Abrazo Scottsdale Campus

3929 E. Bell Rd., Phoenix, Ariz. 85032 

For more information about surgical weight loss procedures, information seminars, support groups and more, visit