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.

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