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The Problem of Childhood Obesity

Posted Dec 09 2010 12:49am

The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has become so widespread it has led First Lady Michelle Obama to create the "Childhood Obesity Action Plan".   Estimates place obesity rates among adolescents between 16-32%. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, the next generation of children may be the first in history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Obesity most commonly begins around adolescence, but can start as early as age 6. Studies have shown that a child who is obese at the age of 13 has an 80% chance of becoming an obese adult. If one parent is obese, there is a 50% chance that the children will also be obese; when both parents are obese, children have an 80% chance of being obese. In a study reported by the CDC, 70% of obese 5-17 year olds had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

There are many risks and complications with obesity. Physical consequences include, in addition to increased risk of heart disease, an increased likelihood of high blood pressure , diabetes , breathing problems, persistent digestive problems such as acid reflux, sleep apnea. In addition, adolescent obesity is associated with an increased risk of emotional problems, including lower self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

As the number of adolescents with clinically severe obesity has grown, so too have the number of adolescents seeking bariatric surgery. The obesity experts at Hospital Angeles are leading providers of LAP-BAND® (with more than 6,000 LAB BAND surgeries since 2006) and the innovative new restrictive Gastric Pleat (Plication) procedure which features no device or stomach resection (cutting), and greater/more rapid weight loss (more than 150, more than any other surgeon in the world).

Some bariatric surgeons offer special programs for adolescents especially when the topic was covered on a popular episode of Oprah ( How To Help Obese Teens ). Although weight loss surgeries such as LAP BAND have low incidence of complication, obesity surgery is still major surgery, and patients who are obese pose special risks in surgery, therefore teens and parents should work with full-service hospitals rather than clinics, where ER, ICU services and on-site cardiovascular specialists are readily available.

Read more about the adolescent obesity surgery program at Hospital Angeles here.

Patients can begin the process of assessing candidacy for surgery by filling out this online personal medical profile - adolescents will need to complete this form with parents!

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