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January 15, 2007

Obesity Surgeries Increase

More than 120,000 obese Americans had some kind of surgery to help them lose weight in 2004, with the biggest increase among middle-aged people, according to a study released Wednesday.

In 1998, 772 people age 55 to 64 had gastric bypass, stapling or some similar procedure known as bariatric surgery to help weight loss. But that number ballooned to 15,086 in 2004, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reported.

"Among the reasons for the extremely dramatic increases is that the mortality outcomes from obesity surgery have improved greatly," the agency said in a statement. "The national death rate for patients hospitalized for bariatric surgery declined 78%, from 0.9% in 1998 to 0.2% in 2004."

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