America has an obesity problem. With an estimated third of the population weighing in well above healthy levels, the concerns that ripple out from this status are many. Strongly linked to diabetes, certain forms of cancer, heart disease and a host of other life-limiting health conditions, obesity can pose serious health risks if left unchecked. Those risks go beyond the emotional and social concerns that may also accompany being overweight.

Addressing obesity head on is something most people who are overweight understand they need to do. After all, the concerns that make headlines and make doctors give lectures are not necessarily news to them. Even so, finding an effective and healthy way to lose weight and keep it off isn’t necessary as easy as it sounds. Thousands struggle with this issue each year and many find that diet and exercise alone are simply not enough to help them attain their goals.

Bariatric surgery may provide a viable way for some people to shed pounds and keep them off. Time-tested and effective, bariatric surgery provides a way to help people address obesity head on while giving them the edge they need to reach weight loss goals and maintain success down the road. This long-term solution, however, isn’t right for everyone. Here are a few things people need to consider before seeking out bariatric surgery:

· Obesity level – Bariatric surgical procedures like the sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass are generally reserved for people with a body mass index of 40 or higher. If health concerns are present, the procedures may be considered for those with a lower BMI. This reservation is simply because bariatric surgery results in permanent alteration of the body. It is not meant to be a solution of first resort as a result.

· Other methods tried – In most cases, physicians will not consider patients viable candidates for weight loss surgery unless other avenues have been tried and exhausted. Bariatric surgery demands long-term commitment to ensure maintenance of weight loss and health at the same time.

· Willingness to commit – Counseling, dietary programs and exercise are all part of the commitment that goes along with this type of surgery. Patients must be willing to commit to eating right, getting active and addressing underlying concerns that may have led to obesity in the first place.

Bariatric procedures have long been proven highly effective for helping people attain their weight loss goals. People who struggle with their weight and are committed to making lasting changes may find the alternative is the right one for them. To find out more, consult with a reputable healthcare provider.