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COVID-19 risks motivating more people to get weight loss surgeries

Links between COVID and obesity have prompted some people to undergo surgery to lower their risks.

HOUSTON — Doctors are seeing more people interested in weight loss surgeries during the pandemic.

They say it’s because they're worried that obesity is a major risk factor for severe cases of COVID-19.

Maria Mariano, 24, decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery after years of trying to lose weight unsuccessfully.

“I think I got up to 245 pounds,” she said. “Since my surgery last December, I’ve lost more than 90 pounds. I went from a size 16-18 to a size 4. I’m a small/medium in clothes.”

Dr. Jason Balette is a bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

“One of the most common things we hear is they read, hear, and see from their primary care physicians that being overweight and having COVID is a bad combination,” said Dr. Balette.

New research is showing it may be because the virus targets fat cells. He says the pandemic has been motivation for many to make a life change. He says gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries are the most common procedures.

RELATED: Why fat cells could play an important role in how sick you get with COVID

“It made the decision easier, because it put more urgency to losing the weight,” said Mariano.

The Spring woman knows some may think surgery is an extreme measure to lose weight, but she’s happy she did it, especially now that COVID-19 cases are higher than ever before.

“If I do get sick and something happens, at least I feel good knowing I did everything in my power to prevent myself from having serious complications," said Mariano. "It definitely takes the weight off my shoulders knowing that."

Editor's Note: The following video was upload in Dec 2021

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