Weight-Loss Surgery Rising Among Children, Teenagers: Study
Weight-loss surgeries among adolescents have increasingly become a part of obesity treatments in the US, finds a study.
The findings, published in the JAMA Pediatrics, showed the number of metabolic and bariatric surgeries completed among youth ages 10 to 19 has been on the rise since 2016.
Between 2020 and 2021, the number of weight-loss surgeries among youth jumped 19 percent.
“This data shows us that adolescents and their families are indeed interested in pursuing surgery as a treatment option if they are given access and a good candidate,” Sarah Messiah, professor and paediatric obesity researcher at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health was quoted as saying by CNN health.
“Many studies show that cardiometabolic disease risk factors track strongly from childhood into adulthood,” she said.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Childhood obesity is a “serious problem” in the US, affecting about one in five children and teenagers — nearly 15 million between ages 2 and 19.
Gastric bypass and other weight-loss surgeries — known collectively as bariatric surgery — involve making changes to the digestive system to help you lose weight.
Bariatric surgery is done when diet and exercise haven’t worked or when you have serious health problems because of your weight.
The study showed that barriers to access, including low referral rates from pediatricians and poor insurance coverage meant that these weight-loss surgeries have remained underutilized.
But earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics published new guidelines for the treatment of obesity — the first update in 15 years.
The new guidelines urge prompt use of behavior therapy and lifestyle changes and, for the first time, recommend surgery and medications for some young people. Teenagers with severe obesity in particular should be evaluated for surgery, the report said.