People with morbid obesity (body mass index ≥40) may experience changes in their health after participating in a tailored patient education course. The aims of this study were to assess the changes in physical and mental health in persons with morbid obesity during the 2 years following an educational course and to explore possible socio-demographic, treatment, and personal predictors of physical and mental health outcomes.
In this prospective longitudinal cohort study, self-report questionnaire data were collected from people with morbid obesity at the beginning of mandatory educational courses while on a waiting list for gastric surgery and at two-year follow-up. Of the 185 who attended the courses, 142 (77%) volunteered to participate in the study, and the 59 with complete data at the two-year follow-up were included in the analysis. Physical and mental health were measured with the physical and mental component summary scores from the Short Form 12v2. Self-esteem was measured by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, and self-efficacy by the General Self-Efficacy Scale.
The participants reported better physical health at two-year follow-up than at baseline. Mental health did not change significantly over time. Receiving surgical treatment during the study period predicted better physical health at two-year follow-up, even after controlling for physical health at baseline. Mental health at baseline was the only significant baseline predictor of mental health at follow-up. However, increasing self-esteem and self-efficacy over the two-year study period independently predicted better mental health at follow up after controlling for mental health at baseline.
Our study showed that people with morbid obesity on a waiting list for bariatric surgery improved their physical health during the 2 years after attending a tailored patient educational course. Improving self-esteem and self-efficacy may be important personal factors for maintaining mental health during this period.
. Registered 14 April 2011.
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