Disparities in bariatric surgery utilization in underserved diabetes populations

Emily E. Johnson, Brandi M. White, Kit N. Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction. Bariatric surgery is cost-effective for treating obesity and diabetes. There are higher rates of obesity and diabetes in medically-underserved populations, yet it is unclear if disparities in bariatric surgery utilization exist in this population. Methods. Bariatric surgery rates were calculated for underserved populations with obesity and diabetes using secondary data sets of four states in the diabetes belt (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina), a region in the southeast United States with higher rates of diabetes and obesity. Surgery rates were compared across states and demographic groups. Results. Males, Blacks, and patients in rural areas had lower rates of bariatric surgery compared to females, Whites, and patients in urban areas. Payer rates were mixed across states. Surprisingly, minorities in Florida had higher surgery rates. Discussion. Disparities exist in bariatric surgery rates in underserved populations with obesity and diabetes. It is vital to improve surgery access to this population to promote health equity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-537
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Meharry Medical College.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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