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Published on January 21, 2021

Last month on the blog, we told you about the new UNC Lenoir Health Care program Live Long Lenoir that is part of our New Year, New You initiative (blog post here). Live Long Lenoir was implemented to help you reach those New Year’s goals for better health, leading to a longer life.


One of the ways to live a healthier, longer life is to maintain a healthy weight. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH) says that obesity is linked to many health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers. If you are not sure if you are obese, you can talk with your doctor who can advise you and discuss the risk factors you may have due to obesity. If you do not have a trusted physician, you can find one on UNC Lenoir’s website. A few pounds a year can add up to significant weight gain over a decade, and it is easy to let obesity sneak up on you. One good way to see if you are obese is to calculate your BMI. You can do that online at this link; you will just need your height and weight.


One way to lose weight is via bariatric surgery. Your doctor can help you figure out if you are a good candidate by analyzing your condition. If conventional weight loss activities like diet and exercise have not worked for you, bariatric surgery might be a great option. There is an informative and helpful video you can watch about these weight loss options on UNC Lenoir’s website.

You may qualify for bariatric surgery if you are 18-64, can walk and have either a BMI of 35-39.9, with at least one obesity-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). You may also qualify if you have a BMI of at least 40, even if you don’t’ have an obesity-related medical condition. In early 2017 UNC Lenoir Health Care performed its first weight loss surgery, leading the way to better health for many in eastern North Carolina.


What happens in bariatric surgery? The simple answer is that all surgical weight loss procedures shrink the stomach so you will eat less and still feel satisfied. UNC Lenoir offers both Gastric Bypass and Gastric Sleeve surgery, and your doctor can help you decide which procedure is best for you.


  • Gastric Bypass - Roux-en-Y gastric bypass forms a small stomach pouch and attaches it directly to the small intestine, bypassing most of the stomach and a lot of the small intestine. Expect to lose 60–80 percent of excess weight if you make required lifestyle changes after this surgery. About 80 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes see their symptoms disappear with this procedure.


  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery - Gastric sleeve surgery removes about 80 percent of the stomach. Look forward to losing 50–60 percent of excess weight if you make required lifestyle changes after this surgery. About 60 percent of patients with Type 2 diabetes see their symptoms disappear after this treatment.

One excellent feature of bariatric surgery at UNC Lenoir is the after-surgery support. There is medical supervision, plus nutrition and lifestyle counseling. There are monthly support groups where you can talk out issues and collaborate with others. In addition, you will get a free membership to Minges Wellness Center for a year post-surgery. Minges Wellness Center offers personalized training, group classes (limited enrollment or seating due to COVID), and a Mile Walk Club, which awards prizes and recognition for distance goals that are met.

Not everyone with obesity is a candidate for bariatric surgery. If you’re not a candidate for bariatric surgery, UNC Lenoir Health Care has other proactive ways to control and manage your weight. Your doctor can help you figure out what’s best for you, but some options include Optifast®, HealthyLife Weigh®, and Medical Nutrition Therapy.  You can read more about these non-surgical weight loss options on the UNC Lenoir Weight Management web page.


At UNC Lenoir, we have a goal for healthier living for you! Do not hesitate to reach out to us to inquire about bariatric surgery or any of our weight loss options. We are here to help. You can reach us by phone at 252.522.7000 or by email| You can also read more about what UNC Lenoir Health Care has to offer by visiting our website.

Reviewed by Alicia Hawkins on January 21, 2021