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The life-extending, staying power of bariatric surgery

"Around 20% of premature deaths in Canada are estimated to be directly attributable to obesity."

February 7, 2022

The mortal impact of obesity

It has long been established that obesity is a major risk factor for several conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, different types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes.1 Over the past 20 years, cardiovascular diseases and cancers have been the leading causes of death in Canada.1 Moreover, around 20% of premature deaths in Canada are estimated to be directly attributable to obesity.2

The rescuing effect of bariatric surgery

A recent study conducted in the United States followed nearly 22,000 patients for 40 years after they had done one of four types of bariatric surgery.3 When comparing study participants of similar weight who did versus did not undergo surgery, there was a 16% decrease in all-cause mortality among patients who had surgery. When broken down against cause of death, the study group with surgery experienced a decrease in mortality by:3

  • 29% for cardiovascular diseases

  • 43% for cancer

  • 72% for diabetes

The results from this study provide iron-tight support for many other international, smaller-scale studies that have drawn the same conclusion: people suffering from obesity are recommended to use surgery paired with lifestyle changes for positive, beneficial long-term outcomes.

The need for a mindset-change about bariatric surgery

Despite these proven benefits, only 2% of those who are eligible for bariatric surgery ever get it.4 Even though several insurance carriers can cover the cost of certain bariatric surgeries based on the medical history and body mass index (BMI) of an interested individual. The negative outlook on bariatric surgery is largely in part due to the stigma about obesity or the fear that surgery is societally perceived as a failure of willpower. It is this flawed thinking that is aligned to another one of the more unfortunate findings from the study: participants between the ages of 18 and 34 who had surgery showed a 2.4% increase in suicide.3 While the reason for this increase is pending further investigation, scientists speculate it might be due to unrealistic expectations or underlying psychological disorders that were not determined prior to surgery nor resolved after surgery.

This tragic result emphasizes the importance of working closely with a clinic for a meticulous pre-surgical psychological screening and post-surgery follow-up, as well as guidance throughout the weight loss journey.


Multiple bariatric surgical procedures are available and have been proven to reduce mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and type 2 diabetes—regardless of gender or age, and the effect endures over decades.3   

Want to learn more? Contact Clinique Michel Gagner to find out whether you are a candidate for bariatric surgery as well as which type of surgery and weight loss plan would be most suitable for you. Consider filling out our questionnaire as a good starting point.



1. Lytvyak E, Straube S, Modi R, Lee KK. Trends in obesity across Canada from 2005 to 2018: a consecutive cross-sectional population-based study. CMAJ Open. 2022;10(2):E439-E449. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20210205

2. Janssen I. The public health burden of obesity in Canada. Can J Diabetes. 2013;37(2):90-96. doi:10.1016/j.jcjd.2013.02.059

3. Adams TD, Meeks H, Fraser A, et al. Long-term all-cause and cause-specific mortality for four bariatric surgery procedures. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023;31(2):574-585. doi:10.1002/oby.23646

4. LaMotte, S. Weight loss surgery extends lives, study finds. CNN Health. Published January 28, 2023. Accessed February 5, 2023.