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Bariatric Surgery

Obesity Problems Among Children and Teenagers


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately two million U.S. adolescents may be severely obese and have obesity-related diseases, such as type II diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure, conditions previously seen only in adults; 75 percent of obese children become morbidly obese adults. These health conditions are either resolved or significantly reduced with bariatric surgery.

  • As of 2006, 11 percent of preschoolers ages 2 to 5, 15 percent of children ages 6 to 11 and 18 percent of adolescents ages 12 to 19 are overweight (1). 
  • Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. This increases to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese (2). 
  • A study of 5- to 17-year-olds found that 70 percent of obese children had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 39 percent of obese children had at least two risk factors (3).

Adolescents and Bariatric Surgery

  • From 1996 through 2003 an estimated 2,744 adolescents nationwide had weight-loss surgery with the pace tripling between 2000 and 2003. (4) 
  • Today, 10 percent of children in the United States are obese. This rate has tripled since 1980. (5) 
  • Research shows that bariatric surgery may be an effective treatment for type II diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in extremely obese adolescents. (6)

(1) Buchwald, H. et al. Weight and Type 2 Diabetes after Bariatric Surgery: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. American Journal of Medicine. 2009; 122(3): 205-206.
(2) Torquati, Alfonso, MD, MSCI, FACS, Wright, Kelly, MD, FACS, Melvin, Willie, MD, FACS, and Williams, Richard, MD, FACS. "Effect of Gastric Bypass Operation on Framingham and Actual Risk of Cardiovascular Events in Class II to III Obesity." Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Vol 204, No. 5, May 2007.
(3) Sjöström, Lars. Effects of Bariatric Surgery on Mortality in Swedish Obese Subjects. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007; 357:741-52.
(4) Study co written by Inge
(5) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009
(6) Inge, TH. Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Improvements in Cardiovascular Risk Factors After Surgical Weight Loss in Adolescents. Pediatrics 2009; 123(1):214-222).


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