From wanting to fit into that new little black dress to a desire to look great at an upcoming wedding, there is no shortage of reasons why people want to lose weight.


But for those dealing with complications related to obesity, losing weight can be a life-saving proposition. Simply put: obesity can lead to very dire health conditions. Research indicates obesity—defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above—is linked to the development of a variety of potentially serious medical conditions, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.


Bariatric surgery procedures restrict the amount of food you can eat and/or changes the route food takes through your body so that less food is absorbed. The Houston Methodist Weight Management Center - Baytown offers personalized care through medical nutritional counseling and bariatric (weight loss) surgery for patients affected by conditions attributed to obesity


“Weight loss surgery helps patients reduce their calorie intake, but the procedures are combined with counseling and dietary education to help patients learn how to stay fit after they lose weight by altering their eating habits and becoming more active,” said Kendell Sowards, M.D., a bariatric surgeon with the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center - Baytown.


Patients whose BMI is 40 and above are eligible for bariatric surgery, while those whose BMI is in the 35-40 range are only eligible if they have existing medical conditions considered to be caused by or associated with obesity. According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, approximately 100,000 such surgeries are performed each year in the U.S.


The sleeve gastrectomy, which re-shapes the stomach into a thin, sleeve-shaped organ that helps to limit the amount of food that can be consumed at a given time, and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, are the most commonly performed weight loss surgery procedures in the U.S. With the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, part of the stomach is stapled off, leaving a small pouch that will only hold a few ounces of food. The digestive tract is redirected to bypass the upper small intestine, which reduces total calories absorbed.


“It is vital that patients be willing to make major lifestyle and dietary changes in order to achieve optimal results following any bariatric surgery procedure. The Weight Management Center offers comprehensive nutritional counseling and after-care programs to help our patients adjust to the physical and emotional changes that frequently occur post-surgery,” Sowards said.


For more information on the full range of weight loss services provided by the Houston Methodist Weight Management Center-Baytown, visit, or call 832.556.6046.