One in 12 children and adolescents in the United States is currently obese. If that’s not amazing enough, consider this. Between the ages of 12 and 15, that number flies to one in 10, and between the ages of 16 and 19 one in seven. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), bariatric surgery may be the best hope for many of these young people. Benign surgery is surgery that helps with weight loss by shrinking the abdomen and making other changes to the digestive system.

It is a concern to have irreversible surgery on an adolescent or child, as AAP encourages age restrictions for bariatric surgery. But the reality is that obesity, with all its risks, can be equally irreversible.

Obesity in children և Adolescents is defined as the body mass index (BMI), which is more than or equal to 95% of age և sex. If you are obese at age 12, research shows that you are 98% more likely to become obese in adulthood. These are not good coefficients, they make the complications of obesity more alarming. The most common complications among young people are diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and obstructive sleep disorders (which can lead to further problems, including heart disease). In adults, the list expands to include even more problems, such as stroke, arthritis, and cancer.

Obviously, this is not a problem we can ignore.

When obesity? no Abrupt lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and more exercise, are absolutely the main methods of care. But when you become obese, usually with a BMI of 35 or more, lifestyle changes just don’t work out. (Obesity is greater than or equal to 120% of the 95% obesity’s BMI for age և sex). It’s so simple.

What does a bariatric surgery test tell us?

During the longest-running study of the effectiveness of bariatric surgery in young people, which averaged patients eight years later, those who had surgery reduced their BMI by 29%. Those who have not had surgery. Their BMI rose by an average of 3.3 points.

Of course, the idea of ​​surgery raises concerns. However, bariatric surgery is actually safe and effective if it is performed by experienced surgeons working in a high-quality center with a strong multidisciplinary team that can provide the necessary education, support, and psychological support to patients և families. Surgical complications are rare and usually minor. The most common complication is micronutrient deficiencies, such as iron deficiency. While these can be prevented by taking supplements on a regular basis, the reality is that teens do not always take them regularly. This is why surgery may be performed at a center that offers a team-based approach to further treatment in the years to come.

Which children can benefit from weight loss surgery?

According to the AAP, parents և pediatricians may consider bariatric surgery if the child or adolescent

  • has a BMI greater than or equal to 35 and one or more complications of obesity
  • has a BMI greater than or equal to 40, regardless of complications or not.

However, not all those who fall into these groups need surgery. Not recommended for young people who:

  • have problems with untreated or poorly controlled drug abuse
  • have eating disorders
  • are pregnant or planning a pregnancy?

It is also not recommended for those who can not follow all the postoperative recommendations, including all lifestyle and dietary changes that are mandatory after surgery. Anyone who has had bariatric surgery should be very careful about what they eat, not just weeks or months after surgery, but their whole lives. They also need to take supplements every day.


While bariatric surgery is clearly not a decision to be taken lightly, it is not a decision we should avoid. If we want to give obese young people the best chance of a healthy life, we must overcome our fear of surgery և the general bias that obesity is simply a matter of personal responsibility (think of willpower) և not a medical issue. is. Our children deserve better.

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