Participation in Support Groups Proven to Improve Long-Term Outcomes

 The following post was written by Colleen Cook, president of Bariatric Support Centers International, and was originally published on

We have always been told that attending support groups can make a positive difference for us as bariatric patients, but finding hard data to support that assumption has been a challenge. Until now!

In 2013, BSCI partnered with Stanford University’s research team and the results in many areas proved to be quite remarkable. Identifying a group of ‘highly successful’ long term patients and comparing their behaviors to a ‘not highly successful’ group, we learned, among other things,  that successful patients attend support groups THREE times more often than the non successful patients.

As a weight loss surgery patient from 1995, I often wonder how I would be doing if I were not involved in the bariatric community each day. Would I still be in the ‘successful group’ or would I be struggling. Would I want to go to support groups to ‘stay on track’ or reach out to a support group to help me get back on track? I don’t know but the one thing I do know for sure is that my bariatric connections provide me not only a network of supporters, but a point of accountability as well.

Support groups can be fun, informational, educational and motivational. Support Groups are designed for patients and our voice about helpful elements, topics and structure is both needed and welcomed.

Why do you go when you go? Why don’t you when you don’t? What are the most important elements a quality support group should include? Who should lead the group?

If you’re interested in finding a weight loss surgery support group, contact Woman’s Bariatric Services at 225-215-7982 or visit our website to find more information about Woman’s support groups.

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