Bariatric Surgery: Is it right for Teens & Adolescents?

Here’s a question for you… Do you agree with the use of bariatric surgeries to aid in weight-loss for overweight individuals? Pretty simple, right? Well, here’s a trickier question… do you agree with the use of bariatric surgery to aid in weight-loss for adolescents and teens? This gets a little trickier. Adolescent and teen obesity in America is soaring out of control.

“The latest statistics from the U.S Surgeon General are sobering. They show that more than 12.5 million children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 are overweight. And these numbers are on the rise…” (Cleveland Clinic)

In order to combat their growing waistlines, an increasing number of children are turning to bariatric surgery to help them get their weight in check and take control of their obesity related health concerns. Is this the right answer? As you can imagine, this is a topic of much debate. There are definitely well-respected institutions performing bariatric surgery on adolescents and teens. From our research, these institutions place very strict guidelines on what children are eligible to undergo this type of surgery. They take factors in to account like BMI, obesity related illnesses, age and even previous attempts at weight-loss without surgery. Then, they combine all of this information to decide if they would recommend bariatric surgery to a teen or adolescent patient.

On the other hand, you have those that argue…

“There are many unknowns. No studies document the long-term effects of weight loss surgery on a child’s future growth and development. What’s more, weight loss surgery does not guarantee that an adolescent will lose all of his or her excess weight and/or keep it off long-term.” (Cleveland Clinic)

For this reason, many don’t think that bariatric surgery is the appropriate step for adolescents and teens to take in order to lose weight and get healthy.  Do the risks outweigh the benefits at this point?

No matter which side of the argument you’re on, the one thing that everyone seems to agree on is that “Weight loss surgery… doesn’t replace the long-term need for a healthy diet and regular physical activity.” Weight loss surgery is designed to aid in a

Bariatric Plate

person’s weight loss and keep them heading in the right direction toward a healthier version of themselves. No matter where you fall in this argument, you may have clients that have had or are preparing to have bariatric surgery. In that case, we offer a great line of bariatric products, including the NCES Bariatric Portion Plate, Bariatric Food Model Kits for educating patients and even meal planning software targeted at post-bariatric clients.  To browse the

entire NCES Bariatric and Obesity section, please click here.

We always love to hear your thoughts! Please let us know what you think by commenting on the blog, or sharing with us on Facebook &Twitter. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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2 thoughts on “Bariatric Surgery: Is it right for Teens & Adolescents?

  1. I don’t think that teenager and adolescence should have bariatric surgery, for the simple reason that they need to make changes to their diet and exercise. If after attempting these changes to their lifestyle and they still can’t lose weight then and only then if they have medical problems that would benefit from surgery. I have the gastric sleeve surgery 11 months ago I was overweight fore 20 plus years before I had they surgery. My daughter has lost weight just from not eating fast food anymore. I think most teenager can lose weight with some changes to their lifestyle. I’m not saying lots of eightr but 20-30 pounds can be lost with getting up and doing something instead of texting, watching you tube video and just watching TV.

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