Surgery Kicks Type 2 Diabetes Better Than Dieting: Study

73% remission rate for gastric bypass patients
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 8:35 AM CST
Meg Semrau, a nurse coordinator of Stanford's bariatric program, talks about research on weight loss at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, June 18, 2007. Semrau, who had gastric bypass surgery...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Surgery is better than dieting and exercise to help people suffering from type 2 diabetes, according to a new study. Three of four patients—73%—who underwent "lap-banding" surgery lost 20% of their body weight and were in diabetic remission within two years, WebMD reports. That compares with a 13% remission rate for patients undergoing conventional therapy of diet, exercise, and drugs and who lost an average of 1.7% of their body weight.

Traditionally considered a viable option only for the extremely obese, the findings suggest that surgery should also be considered for diabetics. Detractors maintain, however, that dieting and exercise aren't often effective because they're not given institutional support. "The idea that health insurers might pay for surgery but not for a dietitian is troubling," said one critic.