Obesity Surgery Benefits May Be Greater For Teens Than Adults

obese kids

Most obese teens remain obese as adults, and adults who were obese as teens are unhealthier than those who become obese later in life. 

A new study presented at the Combating Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston (Weight Loss and Health Status 3 Years after Bariatric Surgery in Adolescents. Inge TH, Courcoulas AP, Jenkins TM, et al. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:113-123) suggests that teens may benefit more from early surgery than adults.  

The researchers compared results from two studies of gastric bypass surgery in 161 teens and 396 adults who had been obese since they were teens. Three years after their operations, both groups had lost between 26% to 29% of their weigh and Diabetes went into remission in 86% of teens and 53% of adults diagnosed with the disease before surgery. High blood pressure was also normalized in 68% of teens and 41% of adults.

Although a 2% mortality accompanied surgery in both groups, two of the teens died from drug overdoses, suggesting substance abuse and self harm may accompany teen obesity.

The researchers documented the durability of clinically meaningful weight loss and metabolic improvements and weight-related quality of life among adolescents who underwent gastric bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy. The benefits of these current bariatric surgical alternatives must be viewed in the context of the risks of nutritional deficiencies and the possibility that future surgical procedures will be needed in some patients.

It is this author’s hope that Endoscopic Visceral Lipectomy, which does not expose the patient to the nutritional and surgical risks inherent in bypass surgery or sleeve gastrectomy, may prove equally effective and a safer minimally invasive intervention for this younger population (Uncoiling the Tightening Obesity Spiral. Cucin RL Clin Res Diab Endocrinol:1(2):1-5 (2018)).

New Technology May Permit a Safer Approach to the Burgeoning Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Problem

Reuters reports there are 2.1 Billion people suffering from obesity about the globe and obesity related disease costs exceeded $2 Trillion USD in 2015.  McKinsey who-obesity-angllosphereGlobal Institute forecasts the obesity market to reach $17 trillion USD by 2030 when half of the population is forecast to be obese. These obesity-related diseases include sleep apnea, gastric reflux, hypertension, autoimmune diseases and cancers, vascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, and most importantly type 2 diabetes.

The W.H.O. reports that the U.S. has the highest overweight and obesity proportion in the Anglosphere.  Over 2/3 of our population is overweight and 43% is forecast to be obese in a few years. 43% of blacks and Hispanics already are!  An individual’s lifetime costs of obesity are estimated at $92,235.   80% of type 2 diabetics are obese as obesity is the leading cause of type 2 diabetes.   Diabetes mellitus is the leading cause of renal failure needing dialysis, a frequent cause of blindness, and the most frequent indication for amputations. Obesity doesn’t just shorten your life, but it lessens its quality.

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