As the older population increases, so does the portion that is obese. Obesity, which is a health risk at any age, is particularly detrimental to the elderly population. Obesity in older persons can speed up the rate of decline in physical function, and increase frailty. A recent report in the Journal of American Medical Association estimated that obesity might be responsible for a 5-year decrease in life expectancy.
Obesity surgery has typically been limited for the most part to younger patients, as there were concerns about mortality rates in older patients. For the elder patients in this study, extra screening was done prior to selection, including being tested for sleep apnea, seeing a cardiologist, and a lung care specialist.