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Background: Web-based patient education literature has been shown to be written at reading levels far above what is recommended. Little is known about the overall readability of current internet-based bariatric surgery information. The purpose of this study was to assess the readability of current bariatric material on the internet.

Methods: The term “weight loss surgery” was searched using the Chrome browser on the first 15 pages of URLs that appeared with content written in English. Using five readability measures, scores were generated using for written content on a sample of 96 websites. Scores were sorted into the readability categories of “easy,” “average,” and “difficult.”

Results: Almost 93% of websites, both .com and .org, sampled received an unacceptable readability score on each assessment.

Conclusion: Accurate and appropriate information about bariatric procedures is critical for patient comprehension and adherence to recommended protocols.


This article was originally published in Health Promotion Perspectives, available at DOI: 10.15171/hpp.2019.22.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (



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