Weight Loss Surgery and Teens: Is It a Good Choice?

As the obesity rate among adolescents continues to climb, weight loss surgery is being employed more frequently to help those considered seriously overweight shed pounds and keep them off. But, is this option the best choice? Doctors say it all depends on the particulars of the case at hand. When all other options have been exhausted and the risk for serious health complications exists, bariatric surgery may very well be advised.

How can parents tell if it is time to consider surgical intervention for their children? Are there ways to prevent the need? Here are the answers to those questions and a few others:

• Addressing weight without surgery In most cases, it is absolutely advised that teens and their parents work toward shedding weight through diet and exercise changes first. Replacing fatty foods and unhealthy snacks with portion controlled healthy options is a must. So, too, is working exercise into the daily routine. The combination of the two can have dramatic effects on weight in teens.
• Formal programs may help – Whether a teen works with a doctor, a dietician, a trainer or all three, sometimes it is very beneficial to employ outside help in addressing weight-related issues. Speaking with a healthcare provider about lifestyle changes that may promote a change is a good place to start.
• Surgery is a last resort, but it can be a very wise choice – As obesity rates rise in children, so are the incidence rates of related health conditions. When a child’s health is compromised due to obesity, surgical intervention may be the best possible choice under the circumstances. Studies conducted in the United States have shown that procedures, such as the gastric bypass, can have very positive results in teens.

Obesity in children is a serious health concern in America and beyond. Whether the issue is addressed through lifestyle changes or surgery, shedding pounds is critical for helping ensure adolescents get a healthy start as they enter adulthood. To find out more about helping your teen lose weight safely, speak with your healthcare provider.


Does Bariatric Surgery Increase Kidney Stone Risk?

Bariatric surgery has been proven to have incredibly positive effects on those who struggle with obesity. Providing a safe, effective way to shed pounds while helping treat comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, these procedures are performed in the thousands worldwide each year. While considered as safe as other surgical procedures, some fear bariatric operations may increase their likelihood of developing kidney stones. A number of studies have produced conflicting results in answering this question.

The most recent study conducted in America supports the assertion that kidney stone risk can rise with bariatric surgery. The increase in likelihood, however, was minimal. Since obesity itself is a risk factor for the development of kidney stones, patients may find they are at elevated risk either way. Not addressing obesity, however, can leave people at-risk for a number of conditions that are considered much more serious than kidney stones.

People who are considered obese, which means having a body mass index of 35 or higher, are at elevated risk for a wide variety of related medical conditions. Complications from obesity include increase risk of developing some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and others. Taking action to lose weight through lifestyle interventions or bariatric surgery can dramatically lower risks for medical complications. Bariatric surgery has also been linked to a reversal of symptoms in some type 2 diabetics and better control over the disease in others.

Obesity has reached an epidemic proportion in the United States. It is estimated about a third of the population is considered obese. If weight is a personal concern, it is important to speak directly with a healthcare provider. The best recommendations for getting weight into a healthy range and being able to keep it off will come from a doctor with access to information about your unique case.