Weight Loss Surgery Best Option For Overweight Teens?

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http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/teen-weight-loss-surgery-gastric-bands-worth-risk/story?id=9786842&page=1

After searching on Google for a couple of minutes, I came across an article that was related to what we talked about in class earlier today. This article also contained a short five minute video that I also watched. The video discusses a study done in Australia that compared weight loss results for teens that had the surgery vs those that stuck to the lifestyle change of healthy eating and exercising. 50 patients were observed in the study. 25 had gastric band surgery and the other 25 did the lifestyle change. The patients were observed over a 2 year time period and it was found that those teens that under went surgery lost an average of 67 pounds in two year, while those who were on the lifestyle change plan lost an average of 6-7 pounds. The video than also started to briefly discuss how the FDA is looking to make the surgery available to kids. Currently bariatric surgery is only available to those who are 18 and older and have a BMI over 40. The only exception would be if the person has a BMI over 35 with a special condition such as high blood pressure. The scientist talking in the video believes that surgery is a great tool to lose weight, and says the study proves it. In the article that is also located on this site, talks more in depth about the FDA considering on broadening the gastric band surgery. There are both pros and cons to the issue being discussed. Some pros of the surgery are that it has a high success rate of losing weight (hence "eliminating the obesity epidemic") and that it may give teens the physical advantage they need. The cons to the surgery are that it doesn't change the fact that you need to watch what you eat, and also may be jumping the gun before by operating before patients have any real serious medical problem. Both sides of the issues have great arguments and so it should be interesting on what the FDA will decide.

Both the article and the video relate to what we are talking about in class. Earlier today we discussed the different types of bariatric surgeries and how affective they are. We discussed the pros, such as its high weight loss success rate, and the cons such as how it may deprive people of their nutritional needs. Because of its high success rate it convinces me that it should be available for teens ages 14-17, but yet at the same time I'm hesitant about surgery because it is something that is costly and it can have huge effects later in life, especially if it deprives people from receiving some of the nutrients they need. I can't wait to see what the FDA will finally decide on the matter.

1 Comment

I'm much more inclined after reading the article to be in support of the view that batriatric surgery on teenagers is way to early for such a drastic measure. Although the participants had greater weight loss over two years than the teenagers who had lifestyle changes, this study didn't look at the long term effects that such a major surgery can have. Since batriatric surgery has been shown to have many possible long term complications, having the surgery done at such an early age seems to only increase the possibility of these complications occurring. Also as we've discussed in class, excess weight isn't the root cause of all health problems associated with obesity; an individuals diet is also a major contributing factor to such health problems as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Therefore simply having a surgery to get rid of excess weight seems to kind of pushing the problem under the rug and doesn't necessarily target the key health problems. At such a young age, it seems to me like there is still plenty of time for a drastic lifestyle change that may not have the immediate benefits of surgery, but in the long run will lead to a healthier lifestyle. At an older age however after all other options have been exhausted, I would think that a consideration of batriatric surgery would be definitely plausible.

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This page contains a single entry by websk003 published on October 13, 2010 10:28 PM.

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