An ongoing clinical study is collecting evidence as to which types of obesity treatment and bariatric surgery are best suited to particular groups of patients. The study, coordinated by the Clinical Trials and Evaluation Unit at the University of Bristol and University Hospitals Bristol NHS (National Health Service) Foundation Trust, is known as By-Band-Sleeve study and also aims to determine the causes of weight gain and possible long-term solutions for the obesity epidemic.
A previous survey, conducted on behalf of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network, found that almost half (43%) of the 3,000 people across England questioned had noticed increasing levels of obesity in their area of residence over the last five years and, further, had a clear understanding of the lifestyle behaviors that lead to obesity, with 82% pointing to overeating and 73% to lack of physical activity.
Despite the evidence of public awareness, though, obesity levels have been raising in the U.K. for the last 30 years. The survey’s findings led the researchers to suggest that, while the health community is successful in communicating the risks of obesity, the message’s impact is negligible.
“People need more options. Clinical research is playing a vital role in developing better and more cost effective treatments for people who are obese. It is also looking at the reasons for weight gain, which can help us address long-term solutions for the causes and development of the condition,” Dr. Mary Perkins, chief operating officer at NIHR Clinical Research Network: West of England, said in a university news release.
The By-Band-Sleeve study is currently underway in 11 hospitals around the U.K., and plans to enroll 1,341 patients referred for bariatric surgery at any of these hospitals. It is expected to run through 2020, and will focus on determining which of the most common current surgical treatments for severe obesity — gastric band (Band), the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (Bypass), and the gastric sleeve (Sleeve) — is most effective, basing this decision on clinical evidence.
Participants will be assigned to one of the three methods, and follow-up will include weight checks, healthcare use/quality of life questionnaires, and some patients will be interviewed regarding their experiences. Blood samples will also be requested for future research.
Currently, health professionals do not know which of type of bariatric surgery might be most effective in improving long-term weight loss and obesity-related health problems. Rather, the decision regarding surgery method is usually based on personal opinion and preference.
“We want to give advice to patients based on clinical evidence, not personal opinion. We need to know which operation is most effective and who it’s most effective for. Based on that information, we can make informed decisions about which type of surgery to recommend, safe in the knowledge it is the most cost effective choice for the NHS,” said Professor Jane Blazeby, the study’s lead investigator.