The benefits of obesity treatment for the severely obese could outweigh the risks involved in going under the knife.
This is according to a statement from the American Heart Association, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
Dr Paul Poirier, director of the prevention and rehabilitation programme at Quebec Heart and Lung Institute, said that the statement is a "consensus document that provides expert perspective based on the results of recent scientific studies", rather than an "across-the-board endorsement" of obesity treatment.
Dr Poirier explained that medical staff have become frustrated with the challenges involved in treating obesity, which is fast becoming an epidemic.
"Substantial long-term successes from lifestyle modifications and drug therapy have been disappointing, making it important to look at surgical options," he said.
Severe obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 40 or above and can have a disturbing impact on life expectancy, with a 25-year-old severely obese man having a 22 per cent reduction in his expected lifespan compared to a normal-weight individual.