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Post-Bariatric Lives Project

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This study seeks to understand the particular challenges people face in their everyday lives following bariatric surgery, and how these shape their long-term weight loss success.

Bariatric surgery is a rapidly expanding approach for treating high levels of obesity and attendant health issues like diabetes. Patients lose up to half of their excess body weight within a year. The process of adjusting to this massive weight loss can have profound and often-unanticipated social and emotional repercussions. 

In collaboration with the bariatric surgical practice at Mayo Clinic, this study used detailed ethnography in and out of the clinic and longitudinal survey, tracking patients through the surgical process from 2013 to 2016. The goal is to understand the particular challenges people face in their everyday lives following surgery, supporting greater patient satisfaction, improved surgical outcomes, and more sympathetic public understandings. You can read our blog post about how this work fits into a decade of ethnographic work.  

Select Publications:

Brewis, A. S. Trainer, SY Han, and A Wutich. 2016. Publically misfitting: Extreme weight and the everyday production and reinforcement of felt stigma. Medical Anthropology Quarterly (available online).

Raves, D., A. Brewis, SY. Han, S. Trainer, and A. Wutich. 2016 Bariatric surgery patients’ perceptions of weight-related stigma in healthcare settings impair post-surgery dietary adherence. Frontiers in Psychology 7:1-13, article 1497.

Trainer, S, A. Brewis, and A. Wutich. 2016. Not “taking the easy way out”: Reframing bariatric surgery as hard work. Anthropology and Medicine, in press.

Trainer, S., D. Hruschka, D. Williams, and A. Brewis. 2015. Translating obesity: Navigating the front lines of the ‘war on fat’. American Journal of Human Biology 27(1): 61-68.

Trainer, S., A. Brewis, and A. Wutich. 2015. Considering weight-loss surgery: Applied anthropology and the invisible obese body.In: Chad Morris (ed.), The Applied Anthropology of Obesity: Prevention, Intervention, and Identity. Lexington Books, pp 141-150. 

Alexandra Brewis SladeAlexandra Brewis Slade, Arizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Sarah TrainerSarah TrainerArizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Amber WutichAmber WutichArizona State University School of Human Evolution and Social Change