Frequently Asked Questions

Q&A About the Belong Study

What is the purpose of the study?

The purpose of the study is to gain a better understanding of people’s experiences before and after their bariatric surgery. There are no studies to date that have done this with thousands of patients and we hope we can learn more by following people like yourself.


What am I expected to do as a participant in the Belong Study?
You have already completed a survey before your surgery. You will be asked to complete three more surveys at 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years after your surgery date. You can choose to do the surveys two ways: on the internet or by phone. Each survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. The surveys will ask you questions about the following topics: health behavior, mental health, social networks and support, eating and physical activity environment, weight loss, and descriptive questions about yourself. There will be no cost to you. All surveys will be conducted by phone or internet. You will receive a $25 after completing each survey.
I have received emails/letters/phone calls from Anderson Niebuhr on behalf of Kaiser Permanente. Are they connected to the Belong Study?

Anderson, Niebuhr, & Associates, Inc. is a private for profit survey company. They have worked with Kaiser Permanente for over 30 years doing patient surveys. They are not a telemarketing company and they are not trying to sell you any products. They provide a service for the Belong Study because we cannot do thousands of surveys ourselves. They are very experienced with keeping your information safe and private.

If you are not comfortable talking to the survey company but want to do the surveys after your surgery, please contact us right away.


Where does the Belong Study get it’s money?
Where can I find more helpful information about the study?

If you have any questions about the Belong Study, please contact us right away by phone 866-422-7212 or email ( and we will get back to you to address your questions.

To learn more about the Investigator who directs the Belong Study, Dr. Karen J Coleman, please go to her official Kaiser Permanente website.

Q&A About Bariatric Surgery

What can I expect for weight loss outcomes from bariatric surgery?
Generally, patients can lose 50 – 70% of their excess weight after 2 – 3 years following surgery. This means if you have a body mass index of 45 kg/m2, on average, you might be able to achieve a body mass index of between 31 and 35 kg/m2.


What can I expect for my diabetes and hypertension from bariatric surgery?
Generally, 50 – 80% of patients experience remission of their diabetes and hypertension within one year after surgery.


Which procedure is better?
We do not know the answer to this question. This is why we are conducting the Belong Study. In general, for the same patient, you will lose more weight with gastric bypass than gastric sleeve surgery and be more likely to experience remission of your diabetes. However, you are more likely to experience complications from gastric bypass and gastric sleeve. There are other weight loss procedures, however, almost all (99%) of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California bariatric surgeries done today are either gastric bypass or sleeve.


I have heard that I can just get a bypass if my gastric sleeve does not work. Is that true?
Revisions of your bariatric procedure are handled on a case by case basis. While it is true that people with gastric sleeve may be able to have gastric bypass later on, it is generally not true that the surgeons will do this for weight loss failure. If you fail with one procedure it is likely you will fail with another and thus surgeons tend only to revise your operation if there is a problem with the procedure itself – not because you did not lose weight.


Which surgeons are better?
All of the surgeons who perform bariatric procedures for Kaiser Permanente Southern California have similar outcomes and low complication rates.
How many surgeries do we do a year?
Kaiser Permanente Southern California has one of the largest bariatric programs in the world. We perform 3,000 – 5,000 procedures a year and have done almost 40,000 surgeries since it began.


Where can I find more helpful information about bariatric surgery?
If you have any questions about bariatric surgery, please contact us right away by phone (1-866-422-7212) or email ( and we will get back to you to address your questions.