For people who are obese and at high risk for heart attack, stroke and early death, bariatric surgery can help reduce the risk of those events by 25 to 50 percent, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Researchers compared the health of bariatric surgery patients for five years after their operations with patients who had similar health and risk profiles who underwent joint replacement surgery or gastrointestinal surgery (for hernia or gallbladder). Five years after surgery, the incidence of heart attack was 50 percent less and stroke was 30 to 50 percent less compared to the control groups. Bariatric surgery has long been considered an effective treatment for obesity and diabetes. But this study and other similar efforts confirm that the weight-loss procedure can have life-saving benefits for obese men and women.