Successful weight loss after bariatric surgery in Appalachian state regardless of food access ranking score

M. L. Barr, L. E. Tabone, C. Brode, N. Szoka, Olfert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Following bariatric surgery, an explicit dietary regimen is required to facilitate and maintain successful weight loss. Without adequate access to healthy foods, weight maintenance can be hindered. Objective: Examine influence degree of food access has on Appalachian bariatric surgery patient weight loss outcomes. Setting: Appalachian University hospital, United States. Methods: A retrospective chart review was used to examine the influence of food accessibility on weight loss outcomes in an Appalachian bariatric surgery patient population at a large tertiary hospital in West Virginia between 2013 and 2017. Demographic characteristics, health and family history, and 1-year surgery outcomes were collected. A state-specific food accessibility score was calculated for each patient address using the geographic information system. Patients were assigned a food access ranking score (FARS) between 0 (low food access) and 4 (high food access) based on criteria of quantity, quality, income, and vehicle access. Results: Patients (n = 369) were predominately married (60.5%), white (92.4%), female (77.8%), and underwent laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (75.9%), with a mean age of 45 years. Most patients had low FARS (M = 1.67 ± .73; 72.6%). Nonwhite patients (P = .03) with a preoperative diagnosis of depression (P = .02) or without a family history of obesity (P = .01) were found to be in the lower FARS categories. FARS was not indicative of weight loss post surgery (P > .05). Conclusions: Food accessibility in West Virginia was not associated with bariatric surgery weight outcomes at 1-year post operation. Lower food access was associated with nonwhite race/ethnicity, diagnosed depression at baseline, and no family history of obesity. Future studies should include more extended follow-up data collection and mixed-method approaches to capture perceptions of food access and its impact on the patients’ postoperative journey.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1737-1744
Number of pages8
JournalSurgery for Obesity and Related Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding/Support: This research was supported by West Virginia Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station WVA00689 and WVA00721 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Society for Bariatric Surgery


  • Appalachia
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Food access
  • Outcomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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