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      The Exchange of Social Support on Online Bariatric Surgery Discussion Forums: A Mixed-Methods Content Analysis

      1 , 1 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 4

      Health Communication

      Informa UK Limited

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          Abstract

          Bariatric surgery patients often experience physical and psychosocial stressors, and difficulty adjusting to significant lifestyle changes. As a result, social support groups that provide patients with support, coping skills, and nutritional information are valuable components of bariatric care. Support group attendance at bariatric centers is associated with greater post-surgery weight loss; however, several barriers hinder attendance at in-person support groups (e.g., travel distance to bariatric centers). Consequently, online support forums are an increasingly utilized resource for patients both before and after surgery. This study examined and described the type and frequency of social support provided on a large online bariatric surgery forum. A total of 1,412 messages in the pre- (n = 822) and post-surgery (n = 590) sections of the forum were coded using qualitative content analysis according to Cutrona and Suhr's (1992) Social Support Behavior Code model (i.e., including informational, tangible, esteem, network, and emotional support types). The majority of messages provided informational and emotional support regarding: a) factual information about the bariatric procedure and nutrition; b) advice for coping with the surgery preparation process, and physical symptoms; and c) encouragement regarding adherence to surgical guidelines, and weight loss progress. Network, esteem, and tangible support types were less frequent than informational and emotional support types. The results inform healthcare providers about the types of social support available to bariatric patients on online support forums and, thus, encourage appropriate referrals to this resource.

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          Most cited references 15

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          Morbid obesity rates continue to rise rapidly in the United States.

          Clinically severe or morbid obesity (body mass index (BMI) >40 or 50 kg m(-2)) entails far more serious health consequences than moderate obesity for patients, and creates additional challenges for providers. The paper provides time trends for extreme weight categories (BMI >40 and >50 kg m(-2)) until 2010, using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Between 2000 and 2010, the prevalence of a BMI >40 kg m(-2) (type III obesity), calculated from self-reported height and weight, increased by 70%, whereas the prevalence of BMI >50 kg m(-2) increased even faster. Although the BMI rates at every point in time are higher among Hispanics and Blacks, there were no significant differences in trends between them and non-Hispanic Whites. The growth rate appears to have slowed down since 2005. Adjusting for self-report biases, we estimate that in 2010 15.5 million adult Americans or 6.6% of the population had an actual BMI >40 kg m(-2). The prevalence of clinically severe obesity continues to be increasing, although less rapidly in more recent years than prior to 2005.
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            Controllability of Stressful Events and Satisfaction With Spouse Support Behaviors

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              Mortality and cardiac and vascular outcomes in extremely obese women.

              Obesity, typically measured as body mass index of 30 or higher, has 3 subclasses: obesity 1 (30-34.9); obesity 2 (35-39.9); and extreme obesity (> or =40). Extreme obesity is increasing particularly rapidly in the United States, yet its health risks are not well characterized. To determine how cardiovascular and mortality risks differ across clinical weight categories in women, with a focus on extreme obesity. We examined incident mortality and cardiovascular outcomes by weight status in 90,185 women recruited from 40 US centers for the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and followed up for an average of 7.0 years (October 1, 1993 to August 31, 2004). Incidence of mortality, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. Extreme obesity prevalence differed with race/ethnicity, from 1% among Asian and Pacific Islanders to 10% among black women. All-cause mortality rates per 10,000 person-years were 68.39 (95% confidence interval [CI], 65.26-71.68) for normal body mass index, 71.16 (95% CI, 67.68-74.82) for overweight, 84.47 (95% CI, 78.90-90.42) for obesity 1, 102.85 (95% CI, 92.90-113.86) for obesity 2, and 116.85 (95% CI, 103.36-132.11) for extreme obesity. Analyses adjusted for age, smoking, educational achievement, US region, and physical activity levels showed that weight-related risk for all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease mortality, and coronary heart disease incidence did not differ by race/ethnicity. Adjusted analyses among white and black participants showed positive trends in all-cause mortality and coronary heart disease incidence with increasing weight category. Much of the obesity-related mortality and coronary heart disease risk was mediated by diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia. In white women, weight-related all-cause mortality risk was modified by age, with obesity conferring less risk among older women. Considering obesity as a body mass index of 30 or higher may lead to misinterpretation of individual and population risks. Escalating extreme obesity may exacerbate health effects and costs of the obesity epidemic.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Health Communication
                Health Communication
                Informa UK Limited
                1041-0236
                1532-7027
                March 10 2017
                May 04 2018
                March 10 2017
                May 04 2018
                : 33
                : 5
                : 628-635
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
                [2 ] School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University
                [3 ] Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto
                [4 ] Centre for Mental Health, University Health Network
                Article
                10.1080/10410236.2017.1289437
                28281790
                © 2018

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