Obesity is worldwide problem. There are millions worldwide who are suffering from this disease. In the United States, there are about 12.5 million children and adolescents who are overweight. Children are also suffering from the diseases associated with obesity and disease traditionally seen only in older people, like diabetes and heart disease. Because of these health problems, they are looking for weight-loss options and gastric bypass surgery is one of them.
Gastric bypass surgery is not the popular among the young population though. About 1% of those who undergo the procedure are teens according to the survey reported in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in March 2019. There is a relative increase on the number of teens undergoing the procedure, but still remains unpopular or uncommon.
Sadly, obese children think that they are living a kind of life like those who have cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, according to the survey done by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Teens suffering from obesity would deal with being teased, socially not accepted, and unable to participate in social activities.
Not all obese teens are recommended to undergo gastric bypass surgery. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2019, there are guidelines that should be considered before a teen or an adolescent is recommended for gastric bypass or any weight-loss surgery:
• Have reached a physiological and skeletal maturity. Adolescents that have reached an age (or older) of 13 years old for girls and 15 years old for boys have reached this level of maturity.
• Has a body mass index (BMI) of more than 40 associated with severe obesity-related problems. Has body mass index of more than 50 even though there are no serious obesity-related problems.
• There are medical and physiological examinations and evaluations performed before the surgery, the teen undergoing that should be prepared to handle these evaluations.
• In general, those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery are advised to avoid pregnancy at least two years after the surgery. This is to avoid any complications and increasing risk to the fetus because of drastic weight loss. Anybody, not only teens, should be aware and agree on this.
• Prepared to follow strict dietary regulations after the surgery. There is a strict diet that patients should follow like low sugar, low fat, low-carbohydrates, and low-calories meal plans.
• Have a supportive environment. Because of the dramatic change in their lifestyle, teens should have supportive family environment that will be able to guide them to the different changes. Often times, there are patients of weight loss surgeries who would suffer from different physiological and psychological side-effects, like depression. Families should be prepared in helping their children through these stages.
There are doctors who would say that conducting gastric bypass or other bariatric surgery on teen-agers are safer than conducting the procedure with adults. Teens have not developed any case of obesity-related problems like high blood pressure and heart disease which are common among adults and also increases the risks of surgeries. Teens also heal faster and required less time spent in the hospital.
There are many benefits by undergoing gastric bypass and weight-loss surgeries. Some patients would even report losing 5% of their weight within the first month and about 50 to 60% within a year. Associated obesity related problems are also reduced by having the surgery. However, not everybody is recommended to undergo the procedure.
Even a teen is required to have be able to make sound decisions, before undergoing surgery. Afterall, maturity does not come with age.