Public perception of bariatric surgery

Abdulmalik Altaf, Mohammad M. Abbas


Objective: To investigate the public perception of morbid obesity and bariatric surgery in Saudi Arabia.


Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between November 2016 and November 2017 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, including Saudis aged ≥18 years. Medical students, physicians, and individuals who underwent bariatric surgery were excluded. Participants were interviewed using a new, validated questionnaire. 


Results: We interviewed 1,129 individuals of whom 744 (65.9%) were women. The educational level of most was a bachelor’s degree. Most participants (97.7%) acknowledged the association between obesity and comorbidities. Approximately 22.7% of the participants were unaware of the bariatric surgery procedure. Approximately 18.9% considered it to be a cosmetic procedure. Approximately 50% were unaware of the correct indications for bariatric surgery, and 41.2% were unwilling to seek a bariatric surgeon’s help if diagnosed with morbid obesity. These results were correlated with the participants’ education level.


Conclusion: Our study shows that the public perception of obesity and bariatric surgery in Saudi Arabia is limited. Effective interagency coordination between surgeons, health educators, and other health care providers is required to improve public awareness.


Saudi Med J 2019; Vol. 40 (4): 379-384
doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.4.24050

How to cite this article:
Altaf A, Abbas MM. Public perception of bariatric surgery. Saudi Med J. 2019 Apr;40(4):379-384. doi: 10.15537/smj.2019.4.24050.


Bariatric; Obesity; Public

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