This article discusses the challenging issues faced by women who are diagnosed as being medically obese (i.e., body mass index ≥ 30 kg/m2). Recently cited as the new national epidemic by some healthcare professionals, obesity can lead to other medical comorbidities, including chronic heart problems, joint deterioration, sleep apnea, depression, and lower self-esteem. On the basis of medical records released by Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX, most patients who seek medical or surgical health options to control obesity are women between 25 and 40 years of age. This article discusses bariatric surgery as a weight loss option and applies the Health Belief Model to explain why patients are choosing this option to help them change eating behaviors. Interventions for nurses and other healthcare professionals are addressed.
Shelley N. Armstrong, PhD, MAT, is with Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.
Mindi Anderson, PhD, RN, CPNP-PC, is with Arlington School of Nursing, University of Texas, Arlington.
Emily Tran Le, MHA, is with Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, Texas.
Lynda H. Nguyen, MHA, is with Memorial Hermann Hospital, Houston, Texas.
Correspondence to: Shelley N. Armstrong, PhD, MAT, Centenary College of Louisiana, 2911 Centenary Boulevard, Shreveport, LA 71104.
Received May 9, 2008; accepted September 17, 2008.