SAN ANTONIO — About a third, 34%, of veterans 28% of military healthcare beneficiaries are considered obese. That contributes to the development of Type 2 diabetes (T2D), which costs the military healthcare system an estimated $1.66 billion annually.

A study published in the journal Obesity Surgery pointed out that bariatric surgery is a viable treatment for T2D but that it remains unknown whether long-term remission of T2D occurs post-bariatric surgery.1

Alex Caponera of the U.S. Military Dietetic Internship Consortium at Fort Sam Houston’s Army Medical Center of Excellence sought to assess the differences between outcomes of veterans and military beneficiaries following bariatric surgery.

The retrospective cohort study assessed retirees and beneficiaries diagnosed with T2D who had bariatric surgery between 2005 and 2015; outcomes included T2D remission and vitamin and mineral deficiencies each year for five years post-op, analyzed via ANOVA.

The focus was on 91 patients—46 beneficiaries and 45 retirees—who had mean ages of 51 and 57, respectively.

Results indicated no significant differences between T2D remission and vitamin/mineral deficiencies five years post-op between the groups. The study determined, however, that patients with uncontrolled diabetes before surgery were less likely to achieve T2D remission for all five years post-op, regardless of military affiliation (p < .05).

“Veterans do not have better rates of T2D remission or weight loss following bariatric surgery than other populations,” Caponera reported. “Control of T2D pre-surgery is a potential clinical indicator of T2D remission success following bariatric surgery.”


  1. Caponera A. Bariatric Surgery and Type 2 Diabetes Remission Rates: a Retrospective Cohort Study Comparing Military Veterans and Beneficiaries. Obes Surg. 2021 Jan 29. doi: 10.1007/s11695-020-05169-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33512700.