Change in emotional eating after bariatric surgery: systematic review and meta-analysis

L. Y. Wong, N. Zafari, L. Churilov, L. Stammers, S. Price, E. I. Ekinci, P. Sumithran (Leading Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The effect of bariatric surgery on ‘emotional eating’ (EE) in people with obesity is unclear. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine changes in self-reported emotional eating behaviour after bariatric surgery. Methods: Fifteen electronic databases were searched from inception to August 2019. Included studies encompassed patients undergoing primary bariatric surgery, quantitatively assessed EE, and reported EE scores before and after surgery in the same participants. Studies were excluded if they were not in English or available in full text. The systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. Random-effects models were used for quantitative analysis. Study quality was assessed using the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute quality assessment tool for before–after (pre–post) studies with no control group. Results: Some 23 studies containing 6749 participants were included in the qualitative synthesis, with follow-up of from 2 weeks to 48 months. EE scores decreased to 12 months after surgery. Results were mixed beyond 12 months. Quantitative synthesis of 17 studies (2811 participants) found that EE scores decreased by a standardized mean difference of 1·09 (95 per cent c.i. 0·76 to 1·42) 4–18 months after surgery, indicating a large effect size. Conclusion: Bariatric surgery may mitigate the tendency to eat in response to emotions in the short to medium term.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)995-1014
Number of pages20
JournalBJS Open
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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