Health and health-related quality of life: differences between men and women who seek gastric bypass surgery

Ronette L. Kolotkin, Ross D. Crosby, Richard E. Gress, Steven Hunt, Scott G. Engel, Ted D. Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of this study was to examine the differences between male and female bariatric surgery candidates with respect to health-related quality of life (HRQOL), health, sociodemographic variables, and interactions among these variables in a bariatric surgery practice in the United States. Women seek bariatric surgery 5 times more often than men. Research on gender differences in HRQOL is limited, and the results are conflicting. Methods: A total of 794 surgery candidates (mean age 42.2 y; body mass index 46.9 kg/m2; 84.8% women) completed both a weight-related (Impact of Weight on Quality of Life-Lite questionnaire) and a generic (Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form-36) measure of HRQOL. Health was evaluated by questionnaire and clinical interviews. Results: Compared to men, women reported reduced HRQOL on 3 of the 5 scales assessing obesity-specific HRQOL and also the physical aspects of general HRQOL. Women also had double the rate of depression (48.5% versus 22.5%), and men had double the rate of sleep apnea (80.3% versus 40.2%). Women were younger, less obese, and were less likely to be married. No gender differences were found in the association between HRQOL and co-morbidities. However, an increasing number of co-morbidities was associated with decreasing physical and mental HRQOL. Additionally, depression was associated with decreased mental HRQOL, and coronary heart disease was associated with decreased physical HRQOL. Conclusion: Women's reduced HRQOL, particularly in self-esteem, sexual life, and physical functioning, and their greater rates of depression, might play a role in their decision to seek bariatric surgery. Although we could not determine causality, this study is a first step toward understanding why women seek surgery 5 times more often than men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • Co-morbid conditions
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Gender
  • Health-related quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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