Severely obese adolescents may desire or potentially benefit from bariatric surgery. However, half of primary care physicians say they would not recommend the procedure to a patient under the age of 18, according to research published in Obesity Surgery.
Childhood obesity has increased dramatically since the 1970s. Obese adolescents are more likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes, hypertension, non-alcoholic steotohepatitis, sleep apnea, choleolithiasis and premature death as adults.
Researchers surveyed a national random sample of pediatricians and family physicians for their opinions on referring adolescents for bariatric surgery. They discovered half of these physicians would not consider it for adolescent patients.
“We still have a lot to learn about the long term effects of bariatric surgery among adolescents,” says Susan Woolford, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center at the University of Michigan, “But recent studies suggest that it can be helpful to improve the health outcomes of severely obese adolescents.”
“Physicians worry whether the risks will outweigh the benefits,” adds Woolford, who is also an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics and communicable diseases at U-M. “How long adolescents will be able to sustain the weight loss and what the psychological outcomes would be in their future, are questions that are still being explored. If findings are similar to those in adults, there could be significant weight loss and health benefits.”
Physicians who support the possibility of bariatric surgery for adolescents may do so because studies have indicated that obesity in adolescents has long-term health effects even if patients eventually lose weight, the authors write. Adolescent years can also be difficult socially and emotionally for extremely obese youth.
“With the increasing media presentations of surgeries for weight loss among the general public and Hollywood celebrities, more obese adolescents and their parents are likely to consider it,” the authors write. Primary care physicians should be prepared to discuss this treatment option with families.
“Primary care physicians are on the front line of obesity treatment,” says Woolford, “Their attitudes regarding bariatric surgery may affect whether or not an adolescent pursues the procedure.”
The study also found almost all physicians endorsed participation in a monitored weight loss program as a prerequisite for bariatric surgery, though the minimum suggested duration for participation varied from three months to over 5 years.
For adolescents, participating in these programs could be helpful by providing time to make a stable decision regarding surgery and to adopt healthy habits that will improve their post-operative course, but the delay in surgery could also lead to further weight gain.
The authors suggest further studies should explore primary care physicians’ knowledge regarding the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery for adolescents and the basis upon which they make referral decisions regarding bariatric surgery for their obese patients.
Additional authors: Along with Woolford, Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., Achamyeleh Gebremariam, M.S., Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P. and Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H., all of the University of Michigan.
Written by Jenna Frye
Jenna Frye | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology