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mHealthLABS Study

mHealth (mobile health) Life After Bariatric Surgery (L.A.B.S.)

Research on co-morbidities and health issues are widely preformed in the Appalachian region. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control identify that this region is on the “worst” list for various conditions including depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and specifically overweight and obesity (Body Mass Index (BMI) of ≥ 30kg/m2). Obesity, and morbid obesity (BMI of ≥ 35 with co-morbidities or ≥ 40 without co-morbidities), has been linked to further exacerbation other conditions leading to morbidity and mortality. The most effective treatment for morbid obesity is bariatric surgery. This type of surgery can be performed various to restrict stomach capacity or absorption of nutrients different ways to promote weight loss. These procedures are performed around 200,000 times annually in the United States which is why studying the health and weight loss outcomes of these individuals is important. However, unfortunately, little work has been done on the population of Appalachian bariatric patients where obesity is at its highest rate.

The work for mHealth L.A.B.S. aims to first identify nutritional, psychological, and lifestyle behaviors of bariatric surgery patients at West Virginia University Medicine through a chart audit of patients from October 2013-January 2017. This audit will be utilized in describing this population and will aid in the development of a future research study for these patients.

Bringing in a multi-disciplinary group of collaborators for a future study will be key to a well-rounded, and accepted, intervention. Researchers at West Virginia University have developed a nutritional and lifestyle tracking application that will aid in tracking a person’s health. The novelty of this application is that patient’s will have personal access to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) through the application, email, or phone, to discuss their diet and keep them on track. Because the Appalachian population is frequently found in rural locations, access to care like a dietitian, may be hours away from their home. This application will allow patients to keep on-track throughout their journey to bariatric surgery instead only utilizing the current program of nutrition education classes once per month at the WVU Hospital.

This research intends to supply knowledge of the population of bariatric surgery patients, specifically in the Appalachian region. Work being performed through WHU Hospitals will allow for a patient population of surrounding states within the Appalachian region as well as West Virginia. Further utilization of a technology application will allow users to access nutritional care from their homes if they are in rural areas or a large distance away from the bariatric clinic in Morgantown, WV.