Newswise — Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions in an effort to spark change. Can you guess what the most common top two resolutions are? “I can tell you that mine were to get in shape and lose weight, year after year,” says 37 year old Alex Monteleone. 

Exercising more and losing weight are indeed the top two goals each new year but as you also probably guessed, few resolution makers actually follow through on them. “You start off strong but inevitably old habits start to creep back in,” said Alex, a detective with the Palisades Park Police Department. 

“Even though I was dieting and exercising all the time, I could never really lose the weight,” he says. Physically, weighing 320 pounds was difficult, but the toll was emotional, too.

Obesity is one of the largest epidemics of this century, made worse, studies show by COVID. “With so many people working from home and living a much more sedentary lifestyle, obesity has been steadily on the rise,“ said Hans Schmidt, MD, chief, Bariatric Surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center. 

“Obesity is a leading risk factor for almost every serious disease from diabetes and heart disease, to cancer and even COVID-19,” explained Dr. Schmidt. 

With diet and exercise being unsuccessful for so many people, bariatric surgery is a proven option that is growing in popularity. “At one point during the pandemic, it was estimated that 78% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were obese or overweight and this had a major impact, people realized there was a correlation and were afraid,” explained Dr. Schmidt. Emerging research suggests that overweight and obese people may be at increased risk for severe disease and long COVID.

Today, Dr. Schmidt’s office is seeing a rise in people interested in learning more about weight loss options, including bariatric surgery which studies show can boost life expectancy, reduce pressure inside the skull, lower the risk of liver disease, COVID-19  and improve vascular outcomes.

“Some of my patients are hesitant about weight-loss surgery at first,” Dr. Schmidt says. “But surgery is often the best solution. Losing the weight is what matters, no matter how you get there. In some cases, patients can’t or won’t do it on their own and diets don’t work.”

Alex says Dr. Schmidt made him feel at ease. He calmed his fears about surgery and reassured him that his inability to lose weight was not his fault.

“I connected with him right away,” Alex says. “He acknowledged that I was someone who tried really hard to lose weight, but just couldn’t get past this plateau. I knew I’d be in good hands.”

Since his bariatric surgery in 2018, Alex has lost nearly 100 pounds and so this new year, will be focusing on a different resolution. “It feels so good to set my sights on something else for 2022.”


For more information on this life saving procedure or to book interviews with Dr. Schmidt and his patients, contact Mary McGeever, PR manager, 551-795-1675 or [email protected]


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Newswise: New Year, New You


Caption: Alex Monteleone

Newswise: New Year, New You