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Diet and exercise are just not enough to get some severely overweight people down to a healthy size.

For them, bariatric surgery can be a safe alternative.

“Bariatric surgery is, essentially, the surgical treatment of morbid obesity and obesity-related diseases,” said Dr. Fritz Jean-Pierre, a bariatric surgeon for the WellStar Medical Group in Marietta, Georgia.

Jean-Pierre says there are several options for bariatric surgery, including laparoscopic gastric bypass, lap gastric banding and laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy.

To be considered for surgery, candidates must have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater, with related health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension, or have a BMI above 40, which usually means they are about 100 pounds overweight.

This is important news for African Americans, who tend to have higher incidences of diabetes and other illnesses linked to obesity. Last year, Dr. Mehmet Oz told the Tom Joyner Morning Show/ audience that type 2 diabetes could be cured or reduced in the body through gastric bypass surgery.

Oz said that the surgery could help people lose weight, prevent heart disease and cancer, reverse type 2 diabetes virtually overnight, but that only 1 percent of patients eligible for the surgery elected to undergo the procedure.

Get Well Wednesday: Bariatric Surgery Puts the Squeeze on Obesity  was originally published on

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