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Should Kids Have Weight Loss Surgery?

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Unfortunately, 1 in every 6 children in the US is obese. A child who is obese is likely to become severely obese or overweight as an adult. Children who are obese are likely to suffer from a number of health concerns in addition to body image problems, depression, low self-esteem, poor grades and trouble coping up with school. As these children grow older, the problems might worsen in adulthood.

There are several ways one can lose weight but losing more than a dozen pounds is not easy. Many adults resort to surgical weight loss procedures but the question is: should children opt for the same solution? To answer this question, let us first assess the side effects of surgical weight loss procedures.

Children and Bariatric Surgery
Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, can significantly improve the lives of adults and children. Contrary to popular belief, weight loss surgery is not a quick fix and children who have undergone surgery must alter their lifestyle to continue to maintain the same weight. In addition, surgical procedures can result in the following short-term consequences and side effects:

  • Infection
  • Breathing problems
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Leaks in the gastrointestinal system
  • Death

Long-term risks of surgical weight loss procedures include:

  • Ulcers
  • Vomiting
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Stomach perforation
  • Malnutrition
  • Gallstones
  • Diarrhea
  • Hernias

Is Bariatric Surgery Safe For Children And Teens?

Technically, studies have shown that surgical weight loss procedures are as safe for teens and children as for adults. However, little research has been done to depict the long-term effects on the growth of such children and teenagers who have undergone surgery.

Children and teenagers are constantly growing which means their bodies are still changing and developing. Parents and guardians must thus be careful regarding their children’s nutritional habits after undergoing surgery. Additionally, gastric bypass surgery alters the way nutrients are absorbed by the body; hence, teens and children would be required to take certain supplements, vitamins and nutrients for the rest of their lives.

With weight loss surgery, you truly will never know what the outcome is. Most children who undergo weight loss surgery may regain all that lost weight while others become victims of long-term complications and do not find out until later on in life. Parents should thus monitor their children’s dietary intake and become better role models for their children to follow.