Parents turn to obesity surgery for children

With childhood obesity rates skyrocketing, more parents are opting for surgery to treat their children's severe weight problems. But is it safe for teens? The number of adolescents undergoing stomach bypass surgery for obesity has increased by nearly 300 per cent in the last few years. Obesity surgery is an attractive option for extremely overweight teens because it is proven to dramatically reduce weight and improve health problems like diabetes and high cholesterol. However, few studies have been done to assess its safety in young people. But new research brings reassuring news to teens and parents considering this option. A study of more than 300 adolescents undergoing obesity surgery finds that the complication rate for teens is roughly half that for adults. Around 5 per cent of teens experienced complications compared to 10 per cent of adult patients. None of the teens in the study died as a result of the surgery, compared to 0.2 per cent of the adults. While this is all good news, experts caution that there is much we still don't know about the long-term effects of obesity surgery. The surgery reduces stomach size, making it difficult to eat much and increasing the risk for vitamin deficiencies. The possible health effects of living this way for many decades are still unknown.

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