Bariatric Surgery During Adolescence Beneficial For Weight Loss Later In Life

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A study conducted in Texas revealed that weight loss surgery, though initially seeming extreme for children, can yield long-term benefits into adulthood. Researchers found that young individuals under 22 who underwent bariatric surgery for severe obesity were able to maintain weight loss over a decade.

Bariatric surgery in teens can help in weight loss management

The comprehensive study on adolescents with severe obesity revealed that over 31% successfully maintained weight loss for over a decade. Additionally, all cases of diabetes, asthma, and elevated lipids showed complete remission.

Completing bariatric surgery before age 22 offers long-term benefits, according to Sarah Messiah, PhD, MPH, from UTHealth School of Public Health-Dallas. The study, led by Messiah, highlights the longevity of positive health outcomes in this age group, addressing a gap in understanding.

Bariatric surgery typically requires a body mass index (BMI) over 40 or a BMI between 35 and 40 with an obesity-related illness. Prior attempts at weight loss are often necessary for medical approval.

The results confirm two decades of positive outcomes for patients, even those who were previously lost to follow-up, according to bariatric surgeon Nestor de la Cruz-Munoz. Many of these young patients suffer from severe depression, and intervening during their high school or college years can offer them a new beginning and a brighter future.

Obesity prevalence among ethnically diverse teens higher

Obesity rates among ethnically diverse adolescents in the US are significantly higher compared to non-Hispanic White adolescents. Approximately 12% of Black adolescents and 9% of Hispanic children aged 12 to 19 are severely obese, whereas only 7% of non-Hispanic White adolescents fall into this category.

Severe obesity elevates the risk of cancer and chronic ailments such as heart, diabetes, kidney, and liver diseases. Prior to surgery, significant proportions of patients exhibited high blood fat, asthma, and diabetes.

In a follow-up trial involving 96 participants, surgery resulted in a substantial decrease in BMI from 44.9 to 25.2, representing a 44.4% reduction. Asthma and diabetes were entirely in remission post-surgery, alongside notable improvements in other conditions including high blood pressure, sleep apnea, anxiety, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and depression.

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