Obesity continues to be an epidemic in the United States, putting many at risk for various diseases and health conditions. If you are more than 100 pounds overweight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 35, you may be a candidate for bariatric (weight-loss) surgery.

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, bariatric surgery is known to be the most effective and long lasting treatment for morbid obesity and many related conditions. Mounting evidence also suggests it may be among the most effective treatments for metabolic diseases and conditions including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obstructive sleep apnea.

"As a physician, I always first advise that exercise and eating right are the best ways to lose weight," said Naveen Ballem, MD, Director of Bariatric Surgery at The Weight Loss Institute of New Jersey at Clara Maass Medical Center (CMMC). "However I do see a number of patients who have tried to follow these methods for years and still cannot lose excess weight, which can lead to serious health problems. It is after careful evaluation that we determine if these patients are candidates for weight-loss surgery."

The Weight Loss Institute of New Jersey (WLINJ) offers a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss that includes pre- and post-surgery education and counseling. Certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Ballem, along with his staff, is dedicated to helping every patient achieve optimal results. The team believes that the key to excellent long-term success is consistent follow-up and support from the entire WLINJ team. "Weight loss surgery is a big commitment and lifestyle change," said Dr. Ballem. "As we say it's a journey—not a destination. Patients need to be dedicated to the entire process, which goes beyond surgery. In order to improve their quality of life, patients have to commit to a healthier lifestyle which involves changes in diet, exercise and behavior."

Surgery options include LAP-BAND™, REALIZE™ Band, Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Sleeve Gastrectomy, Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery, and StomaphyX Gastric Bypass Revision. Further information regarding these procedures, attend a free informational seminar, "Weight Loss Surgery Options." Seminars are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Belleville Founders Room located off of the Main Lobby at Clara Maass Medical Center, 1 Clara Maass Drive, Belleville, NJ. Attendees may park for free in the Parking Deck. Attendees are also encouraged to stay for the post-bariatric support group following the seminar to speak with patients who have undergone weight-loss surgery.

For more information visit www.weightlossnj.com or call CMMC's Bariatric Navigator, Katie Szymona, at 973-450-2393.