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Obesity Treatment: Surgery vs. Diet and Exercises


The modern health care sector faces numerous problems that result from the significant alterations of peoples lifestyle. These are conditioned by the rise of technologies and their implementation in different spheres of human activity. The exploration of new devices has an overwhelming impact on people and their traditional tasks. Individuals obtained an opportunity to work less to achieve a certain result and enjoy benefits. In this regard, at the moment we have much free time and suffer from the lack of physical activity. Moreover, the rise of technologies also conditioned the appearance of a new approach to products conservation and preparation. The mass usage of food supplements, substitutes, and sub-products deteriorated the quality of the final product and preconditioned its negative impact on the state of individuals health. Furthermore, the alterations of the environment also gave rise to different health concerns. Thus, the combination of the above-mentioned aspects created the ground for the appearance of one of the most nagging problems of the modern age. It is obesity. According to the modern statistics, 39% of adults aged 18 years and over suffer from the given problem (“Obesity and overweight,” 2016). It is a threatening fact that indicates the unique topicality of the given problem.

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PICOT question

Therefore, the importance of the above-mentioned concern introduces the necessity of the comprehensive research of the main sources that investigate the given issue. Besides, the following PICOT question could be formulated:

In patients suffering from obesity how efficient is surgical treatment compared with dietary alterations combined with physical exercises in the short term and long term perspective?

Population: patients suffering from problems with weight

Intervention: surgical treatment and dietary measures combined with physical exercises

Comparison: the efficiency of the operative therapy is compared with the results obtained when exploring conservative measures like diet and physical exercises.

Outcome: the desired result is the improvement of the state of patient and stabilization of his/her body mass index (BMI) on the acceptable level

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Time: short and long term perspectives should be investigated to obtain the clear picture.


Besides, the last several decades could be characterized by the significant deterioration of the situation in the given sphere. The alterations of the lifestyle combined with poor dietary habits resulted in the great increase of the average BMI. The current situation could be described as complex as even children suffer from extra weight. The problem should be considered a medical challenge as it has a pernicious impact on the health of the population. Additionally, there are numerous complications that are related to the increased BMI. For instance, obese patients are characterized by the increased risk of having a heart attack, problems with vessels, joints, lungs, hormones, and reproductive system (“Obesity and overweight,” 2016). For this reason, the investigation of the given issue to find the most efficient way of intervention is one of the major tasks of the modern health care sector.


For this reason, we explore data collection and research analysis methods to gather the needed information and make a credible conclusion. Besides, we could state that the usage of the given approach comes from the nature of the research. There is a specific need for the analysis of different perspectives on treatment and outcomes they guarantee. Additionally, the usage of this very methodology could guarantee that the improved understanding of the topic will be acquired and different approaches will be compared.

Literature Review

Thus, speaking about obesity and possible methods to struggle against it,

Khoo and Morris (2012) agree that it is a global concern that affects different regions of the world. They consider the lack of physical activity to be the main risk factor for the appearance of problems with extra weight. However, populations across the world differ in their physical, cultural, and social ways (Khoo & Morris, 2012). It means that there are different approaches to activities of this sort preconditioned by the lifestyles and other peculiarities of mentality. That is why the authors conduct research to examine the impact of physical activity interventions on obesity-related outcomes, and the impact behavior-change interventions might have on physical activity participation (Khoo & Morris, 2012). The authors come to the conclusion that the most positive results could be achieved in case both these approaches are explored, and significant alterations of the mode of life are achieved.

Faulkner, Michaliszyn, Hepworth, and Wheeler (2014) also conduct their own research examining the efficiency of personalized exercises for people also suffering from concomitant diseases like diabetes. For this reason, they create a specific research that delves into the peculiarities and efficiency of an individualized exercise prescription and results it might guarantee. In the course of the experiment, they come to the conclusion that daily exercises might be rather challenging for a patient especially in case he/she lacks motivation. Additionally, it might show low efficiency if a patient is not able to follow the most important prescriptions provided by a therapist. Family support and motivation become crucial elements of any recovery process related to obesity. Faulkner et al. (2014) conclude that the individualized approach might be efficient however only in case it is supported by some additional measures like dietary alterations and increased level of motivation to stabilize BMI.

Continuing investigation of the effect physical exercises and diet might have on obese patients, Mclntosh, Hunter, and Royce (2016) delve into the possible barriers that obese adolescents might face when trying to engage with physical activity. They admit the obvious fact that it has a positive impact on weight loss and its maintenance. However, levels are still low among this group of patients (Mclntosh, Hunter, & Royce, 2016). The authors try to determine the main causes for the comparatively poor final outcomes. Having conducted the research, they come to the conclusion that the lack of motivation and other psychological barriers could be considered the main problems that prevent patients from weight loss. Thus, the inability to alter food habits and consume only healthy food is another aspect that should be considered important. Altogether, researchers state that in case a person is able to involve in physical activity and reconsider his/her approach o nutrition long term results could be achieved.

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Nevertheless, there is another approach to treatment obesity that implies surgery. Traditionally, this method is considered more dangerous and painful as the recovery period might be rather complex. However, it is expected to bring fast results and does not demand any additional efforts from a patient. Investigating the given topic, Drenowatz (2016) states the rise of technologies observed in the last several decades contributed to the significant improvement of techniques that are used when operating patients with obesity. For this reason, recovery period becomes shorter and less painful. However, despite this obvious advantage, there is still a great risk of recession. The fact is that surgery does not eliminate the main causes for the appearance of obesity as it struggles only against visible results. That is why if to speak about the long-term perspective, physical exercises, and alterations of diet could be considered more preferable.

Prasad et al. (2014) also outline possible risks associated with bariatric surgery that is used to treat obesity and help patients suffering from this medical problem. Researchers state that BS produces relevant weight loss which contributes to the improved outcomes, decreased mortality, and reduction in cardiovascular risk (Prasad et al., 2014). However, they admit the fact that there is still little information about the decision-making process that might impact the further patients life. It means that a person could adhere to his/her old habits and consume unhealthy food and experience the lack of physical activity. For this reason, there are numerous debates related to the long-term perspectives of bariatric surgery. Additionally, there are several patients who have experienced this procedure several times. This fact evidences the doubtful character of this very approach.

Finally, Davies, Popplewell, Singhal, Smith, and Bradbury (2016) state that lower limb venous diseases, which is common for patients suffering from obesity, could serve as one of the risk factors that should be considered when deciding whether to apply surgery or not. Additionally, the given problem deteriorates the situation greatly. On the one hand, it could help to get rid of extra weight and improve the state of a patient and promote lower limb venous disease treatment. On the other, there is a great risk of the appearance of complications.


Altogether, comparing surgical treatment with physical exercises and diet, we could come to the conclusion that when the open treatment show better short-term results, the conservative approach could be considered preferable as it contributes to the alterations in patients mentality, mode of life, and food habits and have positive impact on the long-term perspective.


Davies, H., Popplewell, M., Singhal, R., Smith, N., Bradbury, A. (2016). Obesity and lower limb venous disease – The epidemic of phlebesity. Phlebology, n. pag. doi:10.1177/0268355516649333

Drenowatz, C. (2016). The obesities. Various paradigms addressing a single problem. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 10(2), 97-99. Web.

Faulkner, M., Michliszyn, S., Hepworth, J., & Wheller, M. (2014). Personalized exercise for adolescents with diabetes or obesity. Biological Research For Nursing, 16(1), 46-54. Web.

Khoo, S., & Morris, T. (2012). Physical activity and obesity research in the Asia-Pacific. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 24(3), 435-449. Web

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Mclntosh, T., Hunter, D., & Royce. (2016). Barriers to physical activity in obese adults: A rapid evidence assessment. Journal of Research in Nursing, 21(4), 271-287. Web.

Obesity and overweight. (2016). Web.

Prasa, C., Batsis, J., Lopez-Jimenez, F., Clark, M., Somers, V., Sarr, M., & Collazo-Clavell, M. (2014). Risk perception of obesity and bariatric surgery in patients seeking treatment for obesity. Journal of Research in Nursing, 21(6), 692-703. doi:10.1177/2047487312466904

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