Citrus Memorial Hospital

Citrus Memorial Hospital

A third of adults in Citrus County were obese in 2019. Nearly 40% were overweight.

Those are the latest health statistics from the Florida HealthCharts which collects health data from county departments of health and overseen by the Florida Department of Health.

In Citrus County more people live within a half mile of a fast food restaurant than a store selling healthier food, according to HealthCharts.

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Nationally, more than 70 million adults suffer from obesity and many suffer from chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure because of it.

For many, dieting has not worked and surgery is their next answer.

In 2019, 256,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the United States to shrink patients’ stomachs. Nearly 600,000 were performed worldwide, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.   

Citrus Memorial Hospital announced its bariatric surgery center is now accredited by a joint program of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the American College of Surgeons. The hospital’s bariatric surgery center is now accredited as a comprehensive center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program, according to the hospital.

The accreditation is meant to ensure patients receive multidisciplinary care before and after surgery designed for patients with obesity.

Also as part of the accreditation, Citrus Memorial will participate in a national data registry and report on the quality of surgical outcomes and identify how the hospital can improve. This way the two medical organizations can also keep track of the 204-bed hospital’s progress and ensure standards are continually met.

Citrus Memorial in Inverness is the only hospital in the county with the accreditation.

The surgery is often the last remaining option for many, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

When people need to lose 65 pounds or more and have some success losing that weight, less than 5% keep the wait off for five years or more, according to the hospital group’s website. Many gain the weight back in a year.

People with severe obesity also often see their lives cut short.

Their life expectancy is reduced by as much as 20 years for men and by about five years for women with severe obesity, according to Medscape.

Gastric bypass has shown to help with other many conditions associated with obesity.

In a 2016 study published in the Annals of Surgery, gastric bypass surgery eliminated type 2 diabetes in 53% of 173 test patients with type 2 diabetes.

Another study published in Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine in 2019 showed bariatric surgery reduced death from coronary artery disease by 56%.

Hospitals awarded the accreditation must first undergo an extensive site visit by an experienced bariatric surgeon who reviews the facility and its processes and clinical outcomes thus far, according to the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program.

Contact Chronicle reporter Fred Hiers at or 352-397-5914.