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Background

In 2017, a bariatric surgery program was introduced at one of the country's largest public safety net hospitals serving a primarily Hispanic population. The objective of this study was to survey this population to investigate socioeconomic and cultural factors that might affect bariatric success in these patients.

Methods

A retrospective cohort study was performed of patients who underwent bariatric surgery at this institution from 2017 to 2020. A total of 169 patients who were at least one year from surgery were contacted to participate in a 35-question telephone survey regarding demographics, obesity history, home life, dietary habits, and postoperative satisfaction.

Results

A total of 105 patients (62%) responded to the survey. Fifty-six percent reported an annual household income <$25,000, and 38% attained education beyond high school. Forty-five percent struggled with obesity since childhood, and 45% lived with others with obesity. Thirteen percent did not take recommended postoperative vitamins, with 'financial constraints' reported as a reason. Some patients reported that aspects of their LatinX heritage imposed unique challenges to weight loss, including the importance of food in their culture ('If you are from [a] Mexican background, you are taught to eat a lot of food…') and lack of family support ('My Latina family did not think being big was a problem…')

Conclusions

This study highlights unique socioeconomic and cultural factors that could affect bariatric outcomes in this population. Future work will compare patient demographics and outcomes in this population to patients who undergo bariatric surgery at the university hospital affiliate.