Background

Epidemiological studies consistently note that the populations most affected by obesity not only have less access to treatment but also have poorer respones to standard treatment modalities. In particular, varying outcomes within bariatric surgery are seen among patients of different race/ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic status. Drawing on intersectionality theory, this panel discussion will include an overview of how systems of inequality shape access to and benefit from bariatric surgical procedures. Through a series of case studies, the audience will consider the importance of moving beyond the use of single, distinct factors or an additive approach (e.g., gender + socioeconomic status + race/ethnicity) to provide a more complete understanding of differential access and outcomes in bariatric surgery. We hope to provide clinicians with practical strategies for examining the multi-level influence of interacting social identities and ways to use an intersectional approach to inform the development and delivery of behavioral interventions for patients presenting for bariatric surgery. Three case studies will highlight intersections between race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical disability, and geographical location.