Obesity Surgery Triples Among Teens - Would you allow your child to do this?

United States
March 6, 2007 9:00am CST
CHICAGO (AP) - The number of U.S. children having obesity surgery has tripled in recent years, surging at a pace that could mean more than 1,000 such operations this year, new research suggests. While the procedure is still far more common in adults, it appears to be slightly less risky in teens, according to an analysis of data on 12- to 19-year-olds who had obesity surgery from 1996 through 2003. During that time, an estimated 2,744 youngsters nationwide had the operations. The pace tripled between 2000 and 2003, reaching 771 surgeries that year, the study found. Youngsters had slightly shorter hospital stays than adults and none died in the hospital during the study period. By contrast, there were 212 in-hospital deaths out of an estimated 104,702 adults who underwent obesity surgery in 2003, or a rate of 0.2 percent, the study found. The study appears in Monday's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. About 5 percent of children and adults had major complications, mostly respiratory problems. Children spent an average of about 3.2 days in the hospital in 2003, versus 3.5 days for adults. Total hospital charges also were lower for pediatric patients, $30,804 per patient versus $36,056 for adults. The youngest patients were age 12, but most were older teens. Obesity surgery doctors say it should be for overweight teens. Decker had no major surgery complications. A year and a half later, he was down to 185 and says he has stayed there through diet and exercise. "It's definitely a painful surgery," said a student at the University of South Carolina. http://story.news.ask.com//article/20070306/D8NMENQG0.html
4 people like this
21 responses
@irisheyes (4373)
• United States
6 Mar 07
My first inclination when I saw the heading here was "absolutley not". But this is one I had to think about. Also, I read a little more of your posting. The problem with obesity as a disease is that it has so many catch 22's. You need diet and excercise to help but if you are morbidly obese, you can't possibly exercis. A person over 100 pounds overweight has a tough enough time walking down the street. Also, the longer the weight is kept on, the more difficult surgery becomes. Obesity brings arthritis, diabetes, clooged arteries etc. After these complications have set in, surgery sometimes becomes an impossible alternative. So, maybe adolesence is the best time to do it. Certainly, it should not be taken lightly. I'd hate to see this sort of surgery done like the ever popular nose jobs where juniors and seniors come back after easter vacation looking like movie stars. But if there is a serious problem and the child has good sound medical guidance, it probably should be a consideration.
1 person likes this
• United States
7 Mar 07
I don't think 100lbs is that hard to get around on. I weigh 245 and I get around fine. I love to walk. I can walk for hours on end. I can't run, though. Never could. I get sick if I run--hence why I am overweight. I can't do aerobic exercise, other then walking. When I was in college I weighed 195. I still was overweight (by about 50lbs)but I could eat what I wanted because I walked everywhere, all the time. I didn't own a car. I walked to work, to school, to the laundromat (carrying all my laundry), to the grocery store (and carried my stuff home in my book bag). I even walked the 3 miles to Wal-mart every day when I started working there. 3 miles there, 3 miles back, not to mention on my feet all day and walking around the store during my lunch break.
@mzbubblie (3840)
• United States
6 Mar 07
Personally for teenagers, it's seems hard. Teenagers still want to have things their way and not as disciplined as an adult that wants to have it. I have a co-worker whose niece is 6 years old and she weighs 145 pounds now..she wears size 18-20 women...It's so sad. They try to get her on a diet but she does not want to hear that, nor do you want to stop eating... I watched a show on tv about a 14 year old who wanted to surgery and he got down in weight and looked very well...and stayed by the book... I don't think it's cut out for alot of teenager because some want it done, but don't want to go through all that comes after the fact. I guess it really depends on how responsible they are...
1 person likes this
@Thomas73 (1467)
• Switzerland
6 Mar 07
The rate of obesity is increasing frighteningly in the US, mostly among younger people. This trend has also appeared in Europe in the past decade or so. I cannot understand that parents aren't doing anything, and that kids aren't educated in eating healthily and reasonably. Having to resort to surgery for a weight problem should be exceptional, and mostly for genetic defects, not for kids who stuff themselves senselessly and one day realise that their weight causes health problems. This is pathetic!
1 person likes this
@SageMother (2277)
• United States
6 Mar 07
One has to assume that these young people are having the surgery because the alternatives are non existent. It could be that they have health issues that prevent them from exercising properly, it could be that they take medications that lead to incredible weight gain. I cannot imagine that people just do this on a whim or for strictly cosmetic purposes. I don't think I would let my child have this surgery unless there were extenuating circumstances. I am trying to figure out what insurance companies are paying for this in children. It seems a real misuse of funds when there are people who can't even afford their medications to keep their lives have way decent.
1 person likes this
• Bulgaria
7 Mar 07
It depends if they are really fat or not. Because I've heard it before. A skiny girl aged about six tells her mom 'Mom don't give me chocolate I'm on a diet!' and her mother looks at her amazed and says 'How come?!You're not fat!'. Still the girl continues insisting of being fat and her mother gives up and lets her doing whatever she wants. Well a diet is something you can live with, but a surgery? Does it have to be that bad to get into a clinic? This is not the answer. Better go to the doctor and consult with him. And about the obesity - better watch out what goes in your stomach.
• United States
7 Mar 07
If it came down to needing the surgery for one of my children I would probably let them. You have to understand they don't just do these surgeries on anyone. You have to have other health risks, like diabetes before they do them. They don't do it for "healthy" overweight people. Like I could never get it done. I am about 100lbs overweight but I am otherwise healthy. I don't have high blood pressure. I don't have diabetes. Even my cholesterol is normal. I could never get it done. The point is if the only option left for these kids is surgery then I think it should be considered. The longer they wait they more obese they will get until they are not well enough to have surgery. There is a lot involved with getting it done (had a friend online who had to go through months of prepping before they did it, including losing some weight first).
• Canada
7 Mar 07
Honestly for me, I would not llow my child to have this surgery unless there was absolutely no other way for them to lose the weight. It's a risky procedure at any time, and of course, it's not a decision that needs to be made lightly. My partner has a blog buddy who apparently had this surgery done. He was going on and on about how he feels so much better about himself and all that ... and then went on to say that he still eats McDonalds three times a week! Is it just me, or does this not defeat the purpose? And how is he managing to eat McDonalds anyway? I thought the point of this surgery was to reduce the size of your stomach? There are so many things that can be done these days to help kids and people who are grossly overweight. I just wish that it didn't have to come down to a choice of surgery or not.
@Mollyjo (268)
• United States
7 Mar 07
There are some cases of kids that really need the surgery. I have a cousin that really could benefit from the gastric bypass surgery but she is over 20 years of age. I don't think I would allow my child to have a surgery at such a young age but, I would honor their descion if they decided this after legal age.
• Philippines
7 Mar 07
Nope I wouldn't allow my child to have surgery because he is obese..There are other ways and it doesn't need medical treatment..Just give the right diet..a well balanced diet...Not over exceeding in eating and I will take him away from chips and other junk foods..We can also have an after 8 diet..it means no eating after 8..rather than let them do a surgery on my child which is not normal for a child even at the age of 12.
@thatmom2 (126)
• United States
7 Mar 07
wow!!! you have to imagine that we live in a society that tell us "thin is in" subconsciously and consciously, however look around, everything is bigger. you can either supersize, or biggie it. our children have disgusting eating habits, and they get it from us the parents. then instead of us teaching our kids that love urself regardless if your a size 12 or a 22. you should still love yourself, we remind them as well as there peers, that if you are not a size 0 then u are disgusting. we have subjected ourselves to calorie counting, non sugar sugar, and starvation diets...all for what...to appear to be perfect.what about the health reasons..i rarely hear we should watch what we eat bc of the high risk of diabetes etc..unless its a commercial or some sort. what we are reminded of daily, whether its on the commercials, or the t.v. programs, or even the billboards on the side of the buses, is that you will never be loved by anyone including yourself, unless you are skinny....by any means necessary. i hope we all wake up to the bigger and better picture out there........
@matlgal (1687)
• United States
7 Mar 07
Gosh ya know kids have a tough enough time in this world of peer pressure. I think if they have really tried to lose the weight and can adopt a healthy attitude toward weight control then sure have the surgery and go for it. However; you can stretch that stomach right back out if you think that you can eventually go back to eating the old way. So there has to be a real committment to want to live a healthier life and then Yes I would support them in that decision.
@jmp824 (741)
• Philippines
7 Mar 07
To avoid this kind of dilemma, first and foremost, dont let your kids get into the habit of eating too much. Just fair enough not to be too skinny, but healthy. Indulge them to doing things or to be in sports to avoid having loads of fats, since they are still kids most of the fats build are just baby fats. :)
@jennybianca (12915)
• Australia
7 Mar 07
Wow! I have not heard of teenagers in Australian having obesity surgery. That doesn't mean to say it doesn't happen. I would imagine that a big focus would be put on diet and exercise, before resorting to surgery. I have to say though, if my child's life were definitely at risk due to obesity, I would allow surgical intervention, but only if she/ he wanted it. Then again, I wouldn't let a child of mine get to the obese stage anyway. Some children & adults have a medical reason for their obesity.
• United States
6 Mar 07
hell no i'll make my fat kid start running around the neighborhood n my neighborhood is not a good one if u know what i mean, but if he or she wanted to tragar (eat) like that then they can stop exercising their jaw muscles and start using their leg n chest n stomach muscles... thats what im talking about
• United States
6 Mar 07
This is a big step in ones life. I don't think that children and young teens should do it. I feel good eating habits should have been formed by parents. But of coarse, it is difficult as they are out on their own, and all the fast foods and inactivity is causing this problem with both parents. Diet and exercise should be tried first. Then this surgery as a last resort, only if causing health problems. My nephew and his wife did it. Now they both are obese again, because of the same old eating habits.
• United States
6 Mar 07
Yeah I Agree with what you are saying. You share my same philosphy on this topic. I think this is the only correct way. THANKS!
• Ireland
6 Mar 07
I don't think I would like to have my children to have surgery because of obesity. If the obesity was caused by overeating then I would take them to a dietician and have a special diet recommended for them. If the obesity was caused by some medical problem then I suppose I would have to consider allowing them to have the surgery.
• United States
6 Mar 07
Heck no!! Maybe there are a few legitimate kids who are obese who can't lose weight due to medical problems. Everyone nowadays wants everything done now now NOW! The parents need to take their obese kids to the doctor and learn how to change their lifestyle so they can lose it naturally. Next thing you know, kids who are 12 are going to get plastic surgery.
@tad1fan (3373)
• Canada
6 Mar 07
This is a tough one for me.....I think if I had a child who was overweight because of medical reasons I would consider it but if it was because they are just plain lazy,I'd have to kick them off the couch and get them moving before allowing anything like this to happen....I know a few people who have had this done and for some it was good but for others it wasn't at all....this is really a hard question to answer
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
6 Mar 07
to me I dont think I would have a kid do this when after wards they have yto eat right and exersize to which they should do in the first place Keep them out of Mc Donalds !