Bariatric Surgery: Many Patients Bite Off More Than They Can Chew

Webinar Explores Post-Surgical Behavioral and Psychological Challenges

SEATTLE, Wash. December 4, 2012 – Alere Wellbeing will host the complimentary live webinar, “After Bariatric Surgery: Challenges and Threats to Weight Loss Success,” on December 4 and December 11 at 11:00am PDT.

David B. Sarwer, PhD, Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry and Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, will join Jennifer Lovejoy, PhD, Senior Vice President of Clinical Quality & Support at Alere Wellbeing, to discuss the nutritional, behavioral, and psychological impacts of bariatric surgery on patients.

Today, almost 7 percent of U.S. adults are severely obese (overweight by 100 pounds or more), and that number is projected to rise to 11 percent by 2030. Because organizations spend almost eight times more in healthcare costs for obese employees than those with healthy weights, employers and health plans now more frequently cover bariatric surgery as an effective and safe treatment method. Bariatric surgery helps patients lose weight and may thereby prevent or improve costly chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

“Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective treatment for severe obesity,” said Dr. Sarwer. “Most bariatric patients experience sizeable weight loss and improvements in weight-related health problems and quality of life. Yet a significant number of patients experience suboptimal outcomes in the years following surgery, not because their procedures were unsuccessful, but because they could not overcome the behavioral or psychological challenges they faced following surgery.”

Immediately after surgery, patients must adhere to a strict eating plan to receive adequate nutrition, prevent health complications, and accommodate new phenomena such as hypersensitivity to smells and tastes, changes in taste, and the development of intolerances to certain foods. “Bariatric surgery is not, as many people think, a ‘magic bullet,'” said Dr. Lovejoy. “Patients must adopt an entirely new lifestyle to reach their weight loss goals and maintain weight loss over time. To ensure optimal long-term success, they must have access to intensive, personalized behavioral counseling to reframe challenges and navigate a new way of life.”

In addition to his role as Professor of Psychology, Dr. Sarwer also serves as Director of Clinical Services at the university’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders. Actively involved with the Bariatric Surgery Program at the Perelman School of Medicine, he conducts behavioral and psychological evaluations of patients prior to surgery and treats individuals with eating or other psychological concerns after bariatric surgery. Dr. Lovejoy provides clinical oversight to Alere Wellbeing’s programs for healthy behavior change, maintains adjunct faculty appointments at Bastyr University and University of Washington School of Public Health, and is the past president of the Obesity Society.

Join Dr. Sarwer and Dr. Lovejoy on December 4 and 11 for Alere Wellbeing’s complimentary webinar, “After Bariatric Surgery: Challenges and Threats to Weight Loss Success.” To register for the webinar, visit

About Alere Wellbeing
Alere Wellbeing brings together science, technology, and personal interaction to help people recognize and modify unhealthy behaviors to avoid chronic illness and live longer, more vital lives. Alere Wellbeing’s evidence-based programs address modifiable health risks that contribute to chronic disease: tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and stress. Current clients include 27 state governments and more than 675 health plans and employers, 77 of which are in the Fortune 500. Alere Wellbeing is known and respected for its pay-for-performance business model, intense focus on scalable service quality, dedicated account management, continuous program improvement, and transparent reporting of measurable outcomes at the individual participant and aggregate population level. Alere Wellbeing has contributed to more than 100 published research studies and maintains collaboration with the American Cancer Society(R) and an active research program funded by the Centers for Disease Control, American Legacy Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.
More information about Alere Wellbeing can be found at

About Alere
By developing new capabilities in near-patient diagnosis, monitoring and health management, Alere enables individuals to take charge of improving their health and quality of life at home. Alere’s global leading products and services, as well as its new product development efforts, focus on cardiology, infectious disease, toxicology, diabetes, oncology and women’s health. Alere is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. For more information regarding Alere please visit

For More Information:
Sharen Ross
Alere Wellbeing
(206) 876-2276