Obesity is one of the fastest growing health issues or diseases throughout the world. According to data from WHO, worldwide obesity has tripled since 1980. Over 340 million children and adolescents 5-19 years old were found obese in 2016. In 2019, around 40 million children 5 years old or younger were overweight or obese.

Childhood obesity should not be taken as a small issue. There is not a particular reason for it. There’s no way which ensures that it will be solved easily. It is a topic that has a great impact on our daily routine including style of living and work schedule.

Cause of obesity and overweight is simply a difference between energy consumed and energy expended. Increased consumption of energy dense processed foods that are high in fat and sugar along with an increase in physical inactivity due to changing modes of work and transportation during the past few decades are some of the major reasons for increase in obesity worldwide, affecting all age groups.

Obesity and overweight increases risk of breathing difficulties, fractures, hypertension, cardiovascular/heart diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and in some cases even cancer. Childhood obesity increases the chances of disability in adulthood and premature death. Obesity and overweight are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a method where healthiness of a person is calculated using weight with respect to square of height of the person. Calculations may vary depending on the age group. Body mass index can even be calculated on your phone using a feature available in calculator app, simply by entering height and weight. People ranking overweight (BMI > 25) under body mass index (BMI) could achieve weight loss through various exercises and yoga. But, for people ranking under severely obese (BMI > 35) and morbidly obese (BMI > 40), it’s a different story. The simplest way to achieve weight loss for these people is through a surgery.

Weight loss achieved by only dietary plan is usually short term and reversible, while surgical weight loss offers long term weight loss, better quality of life and improved self esteem. Normally, people would go for pills to get their weight under control, but surgery is a simple and scientifically proven approach for weight loss compared to the pills. Generally it is known as Bariatric surgery. It is a weight loss tool that influences the anatomy and hormones of the stomach and digestive system. Bariatric surgery is aimed at reducing food intake and increasing satiety (feeling of fullness). Weight-loss surgery is one of the few evidence-based, discreet, and successful treatments for preteens and teenagers who are severely obese. The two successful weight-loss surgeries currently, the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, assist individuals in losing around 30% of their bodyweight and keeping it off. Unfortunately, it is underutilized by those who may get the most from it.

The rationale for the surgery in the first place is to boost their long-term health as they mature into adults, which is a massive advantage! Bariatric surgery proves to be almost as healthy and successful for children as it is for adults. Bariatric surgery should be done at hospitals with comprehensive pediatric surgical expertise and complete assistance from pediatric physicians who can properly assess and care for children with extreme obesity before and after surgery, according to the physicians. Parents should look for certified teen weight-loss plans here.

Bariatric surgery can be divided into basically three main categories: blocking, restricting and mixed. Blocking and restricting procedures include reshaping or bisecting the stomach to a smaller size or/and bypassing duodenum and jejunum. While mixed procedure include both the above procedures done together. Blocking procedures include biliopancreatic diversion, jejunoileal bypass and endoluminal sleeve. Restrictive procedures include vertical banded gastroplasty, adjustable gastric band, sleeve gastrectomy, intragastric balloon and stomach folding. Mixed procedures include sleeve gastrectomy with duodenal switch and gastric bypass surgery.

Bariatric surgery or weight loss surgery is done using various methods mentioned above to achieve long term weight loss. This surgery alters the gut hormone levels that are responsible for hunger which further leads to a new hormonal weight set point. Bariatric surgery is recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 and for people with BMI of at least 35 with serious medical conditions.

Studies show that there is reduction of about 5-9 BMI within 6-12 months of the surgery. Long term results of surgery includes weight loss, recovery from diabetes, metabolic syndrome, sleep apnea, less complications, low level risks in cardiovascular/heart diseases factors, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and mortality rate reduction upto 40%. It can also be a factor in improving psychological health.

According to a research abstract, sleeve gastrectomy is “quickly becoming the operation of choice” for bariatric surgical care of children with obesity, and undertaking the surgical surgery at a younger age is not associated with an elevated risk of complications.

“We suspected that age might play a role in complication rates, but we discovered that young adolescents performed almost as well as older adolescents,” said the senior author of the study, a general surgery resident.

Before surgery, all the instructions given by the medical team are to be followed. Surgery is carried out under general anesthesia and may take a couple of hours depending on the type of surgery. After surgery, depending on health and recovery the patient may need to stay in hospital for a few days.

Young patients who underwent gastric bypass or a sleeve gastrectomy lost an average of 27% of their body weight and fixed their obesity-related health problems within three years, including type 2 diabetes in 95% of the patients and elevated blood pressure in 74% of the patients. These results were focused on 242 patients ranging in age from 12 to 28.

The opportunity to remove the long-term and accumulated effects of significant excess body weight is the “absolute force” of these operations.

The current evidence is very promising, demonstrating a substantial decline and, in some cases, complete reversal of some of these disorders.

This information could also contribute to more young people with extreme obesity getting access to surgery as a treatment choice through their insurance.

Finally, what kind of life can young people expect after bariatric surgery?

A healthy one. Often people have a treatment and either go to college or start working. In the first two years, the vast majority lose between 60 and 70 percent of their excess weight. Following the surgery, the doctors monitor their success. Losing weight will not cure several of their problems, but it will make a difference. The good thing is that the young patients appear to keep their lower weight and improve their fitness over time.

About the Author

Weight Loss for Children and Teens Struggling with Obesity
Dr. Manish Khaitan is the Best Bariatric Surgeon in India, with 20+ years of experience in Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery and 30+ years of experience in other Gastro and Minimal Invasive Surgeries. He has successfully performed 8000+ Bariatric Surgeries. He is one of the best motivational speakers for obese individuals confused about undergoing Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery in Ahmedabad. He has more than 20 national and international publications and presentations in bariatric and metabolic surgery to his credit.
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