The number of U.S. children going through obesity surgery has tripled in recent years. At this rate, more than 1,000 kids under the age of 18 will have gone through such operations to cure their obesity this year.
Obesity operations, including gastric bypass and gastric banding, are much more common among adults, but it appears that it's less risky for teens. They have slightly shorter hospital stays than adults. Also, the mortality rate is significantly better there were no in-hospital deaths in the under 18 demographic. That's compared to 212 in-hospital adult deaths out of 104,702 obesity operations.
The youngest patients to have this operation were about 12 years old at the time, but most were older teens. The 20 year old, in the photo to the right, had a gastric bypass surgery when he was 17. At the time, he was 5'8" and 385 pounds. After struggling with his weight since age 11, with nothing working to decrease his weight, obesity surgery was his last resort.
I do feel it is really sad that anyone has to resort to this, especially children under 17 years of age. I think adults need to be positive role models for children on this issue - children mimic the behaviors around them. As soon as kids begin to eat, talk, and walk, the adults in their lives need to "model" healthy behaviors. We can teach them that green beans are tasty (I scream, you scream. We all scream for green beans!) and family walks are fun.
What do you think about all of this?