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!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.01.2017 | Life Sciences
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy