Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Cathrine Lawaetz Wimmelmann

Cathrine Lawaetz Wimmelmann

Assistant professor

Research area: Psychological aspects of obesity and surgical weight loss treatment.

An increasing number of morbidly obese individuals, defined as body mass index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m2, seek surgical weight loss treatment. About 4500 bariatric surgeries were conducted in Denmark in 2010. Bariatric surgery is the only effective treatment for morbid obesity often resulting in weight loss of up to 80% of the excess body weight with subsequent reductions in medical risk factors, obesity-related co-morbidities and psychological symptoms. Despite these generally positive reports, long-term results of bariatric surgery are varying. A successful outcome of bariatric surgery depends not only on technical procedure but also on non-surgical, such as motivation and ability to make lasting health promoting lifestyle changes. Furthermore, psychological factors are thought to play an important role for the postoperative course.

The objective of my PhD-project is to prospectively investigate the mental health and quality of life among 110 morbidly obese bariatric candidates. Furthermore, to identify potential psychological predictors of a successful surgical outcome –both in terms of weight loss and mental health.

The project is part of the GASMITO study that investigates the consequences of a large surgical weight loss for diabetes status and muscle metabolism in a group of bariatric patients. The psychological and social profile of all patients are assessed at four times during the surgical course. Two times before surgery (baseline and immediately before surgery) and two times after surgery (4 and 18 months postoperatively). Patients are requested to have a diet-induced weight loss of 8-12% of their body weight during the time from baseline assessment to operation. In addition, a qualitative interview will be conducted two years after surgery to supplement the self-report questionnaires.


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