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September 28, 1979

Surgical Treatment of Morbid Obesity

Author Affiliations

North Carolina Memorial Hospital and University of North Carolina School of Medicine Chapel Hill

JAMA. 1979;242(13):1359-1360. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300130013004

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To the Editor.—  The purpose of this communication by a participant in the referenced conference is to correct the wrong conclusions suggested in the editorial by John P. Callan, MD, "Surgical Treatment of Morbid Obesity" (241:1271, 1979).At the Bethesda National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference for Surgical Treatment of Morbid Obesity, in December 1978, there was general agreement that surgical therapy should be considered for persons who are 45 kg or more overweight. Theodore Van Itallie, MD, conference chairman, stated that only approximately one half of morbidly obese or superheavyweight people can be effectively treated with fasting or low-calorie diets and that only approximately 10% to 20% of those with an initial good result will be able to maintain weight loss for more than a few years. Amphetamines and thyroid hormones have no place in the management of morbid obesity. Allan Kark, FRCS, clinical research center surgeon, Harrow, England,