Since 2007, 45 children under the age of 18 have had bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) in the UK. In Saudi Arabia, doctors recently made waves announcing their youngest patient was 2. And a new study indicates weight loss surgery as a “safe option” for obese children, but what is really going on here?
According to the Daily M-ail, the surgery is thus far only being used in the UK on the most obese young patients—it is seen as a last resort. They say the NHS there only offers the surgery to people who have life-threatening obesity-related conditions that they have failed to control with lifestyle changes.
But a recent study published in JAMA Pediatrics indicates parents can rest easy about allowing their children to have their digestive systems permanently rearranged.
“This is important news for families considering bariatric surgery for severely obese teens,” explained Dr. Thomas Inge, lead author. “Parents who are considering weight loss surgery for their sons and daughters worry about complications and ask a lot about the safety of surgery. This study should help to alleviate or at least bring those concerns into context.”
For that study, the researchers followed 242 severely obese teens who elected to have weight loss surgery. Seventy-seven percent of the participants had no post-surgical complications. “Only” 8 percent had major complications like a re-operation. Fifteen percent suffered minor complications like dehydration.
A low complication rate is great, but the issue really at hand is the fact that young children must undergo surgical procedures to lose weight instead of making lifestyle changes. This is equally and even more so true with adults.
In Saudi Arabia, doctors recently announced they performed lap band surgery on a toddler, the youngest recipient of bariatric surgery to date. There, the doctors proudly state that weight loss surgery should be considered a safe option for “obese children even of less than 3 years of age.”
Particularly among the youngest people, creating healthy eating and activity habits should not be abandoned because weight loss surgery is “safe”. We are setting these children up for a lifetime of dysfunctional relationships with food when we tell them their bodies must be surgically altered in order for them to survive. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Losing weight isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely doable with some simple lifestyle changes. We’ve heard it all before, but staying active, ignoring junk foods, and incorporating more foods for weight loss into your diet are essential steps to weight loss. Here are 6 fat loss tips to get you started.
Young children should not have to undergo surgery to lose weight.