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25.05.2019 | Original Contributions | Ausgabe 10/2019 Open Access

Obesity Surgery 10/2019

An Examination of Who Is Eligible and Who Is Receiving Bariatric Surgery in England: Secondary Analysis of the Health Survey for England Dataset

Obesity Surgery > Ausgabe 10/2019
Daniel Desogus, Vinod Menon, Rishi Singhal, Oyinlola Oyebode
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Over 2 million people in England were estimated to be eligible for bariatric surgery in 2006. In 2014, clinical guidelines were updated, widening potential eligibility, meanwhile, obesity prevalence rose. However, numbers receiving surgery decreased, and concerns exist of inequalities in access between population groups. This study is aimed at estimating the number of adults eligible for surgery in England and to compare demographics with those that receive surgery.


BMI and comorbidity status were used to determine eligibility for bariatric surgery within participants of the 2014 Health Survey for England dataset (6938 adults), based on the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence guidelines. Results were scaled up using national population estimates. The demographics of eligible participants were compared against 2014/2015 hospital episode statistics for sex and age group using a chi-squared analysis.


Of the total population of England, 7.78% (95% CI 7.1–8.6%), or 3,623,505 people, could have been eligible for bariatric surgery in 2014; nearly a million more than if previous guidelines applied. Eligibility peaked at ages 45–54, with most in the 35–64 age group (58.9%). 58.4% of those eligible were women. Patients receiving surgery were far more likely to be female than male (76.1%) and the distribution skewed towards younger ages when compared with those eligible.


Bariatric surgery may benefit many people in England; significant investment is required so that service provision is adequate for demand. Differences between demographics of those eligible and receiving surgery may be explainable; however, the potential health inequality should be investigated.

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