Popularity of Weight Loss Surgery for Teens Grows Despite Risks

OBESEAt 15, Jeff was 5’8″ tall and weighed 433 pounds. Neither restricting the food he ate nor raising his activity level had stopped his steady weight gain.

A call from a concerned school nurse caused his parents to consider weight loss surgery for their obese teen.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery is just one step in the weight loss process. According to Kidshealth from Nemours, doctors only recommend it if they’re convinced an obese individual is willing and able to make a lifelong effort at weight loss.

The history of bariatric surgery began about 40 years ago. Doctors noted that patients with parts of the stomach or intestines removed for disease usually lost a considerable amount of weight after each surgery despite what they ate. Weight loss surgery today either reduces the size of the patient’s stomach or reroutes food eaten for absorption of fewer calories.

Surgeons usually perform this surgery only for teens who are severely obese and older than 14. This equates to having a body mass index (BMI) higher than 40. For most teens, this means being at least 100 pounds overweight.

Types of Bariatric Surgery for Teens

Gastric bypass. This operation involves using staples to create a small pouch at the top end of the stomach. The pouch holds considerably less food – about one cup versus eight cups for a normal stomach. The pouch connects to the middle of the small intestine, causing fewer calories to be absorbed.

LAP banding. Also called gastric bypass, it shrinks the size of the stomach. A LAP band is a restrictive device surgeons use to make a small pouch. However, this reversible technique doesn’t restrict food absorption in the small bowel.


Screening must show that the patient understands the risks involved in weight loss surgery and is sufficiently motivated to stay focused on losing weight afterward. Surgery requires positive input from the patient, family, doctors, nutritionists and psychologists.

For teens who have repeatedly failed at traditional weight loss methods, surgery might be the last resort. In some cases, it can save lives.

According to the Washington Post, a 2007 study estimated that 2,744 teenagers had bariatric surgery between 1996 and 2003. Between 2000 and 2003, that number tripled. The Post reports that behavioral treatment for childhood obesity has a 95 percent failure rate over an extended period.

Part of the reason for the growing popularity of both types of bariatric surgery for teens is success in adult patients, who experience increased longevity and, in some cases, reversal of Type 2 diabetes.


Many doctors still consider weight loss surgery for teens very risky. Common side effects include pain, vomiting, diarrhea, acid reflux and regaining weight if the patient doesn’t learn modified eating techniques.

Dumping syndrome is a common issue linked primarily to gastric bypass. Because food moves too fast through the digestive tract, the teen experiences nausea, sweating and weakness.

Rare risks include bleeding, reaction to anesthesia and infection at the surgical site. If a leaky stomach or intestine develops, peritonitis can result. Bowel obstructions and blood clots in the lung are additional risks.

The potential emotional effects on teens are especially important. Some youngsters went into surgery believing it would completely change their lives, only to be disappointed.

Since teens tend to do whatever they want, skipping the prescribed diet and exercise programs. This can cause metabolic imbalance and sabotage success. Some doctors fear this surgery will become an attempted cure-all for teen obesity and that many patients will need repeat procedures.

Health insurance generally covers gastric bypass surgery. However, families often have to pay the full price of a lap-band procedure since many insurers consider it experimental.

Any decision about weight loss surgery for an obese teen should be made after a series of visits with health care professionals to make sure the youngster is sufficiently mature and otherwise a good candidate. It’s also important to determine that everyone’s expectations are realistic.

Last Minute Weight Loss: The Truth About Fad Diets

At one time or another all of us have been in a position where we’ve been subjected to Last Minute Weight Loss. A wedding that we were invited to a month before the event, a spur of the moment vacation that was such a good deal we had to take; now we want to fit into our Speedo or bikini and not scare of the natives.

Maybe one day we just looked at ourselves in the mirror and decided that we’ve had enough and we want to lose the weight now.

I know how you feel; there is nothing wrong with wanting to lose the weight yesterday. We have feelings of regret and failure to contend with and a Last Minute Weight Loss plan seems to be the solution.

What are some Last Minute Weight Loss programs?

Low or no carbohydrate diet

Carbohydrates are important for body and mind to function correctly and these types of fad diets should be avoided.

Diuretic drinks

Diuretics make you go to the bathroom more. This will cause you to lose water. You will lose weight but you will also lose precious electrolytes as well.

Citrus diets

These diets will have you eating lots of grapefruit and other citrus fruits primarily. The goal is to make you feel full on fiber and water thus helping you to lose weight. However you will have stomach aches from the high amount of acid you will be consuming and your lips will look like you just got a bad collagen injection.

Binging and purging

Never a good idea! Besides your stomach acids will erode the enamel on your teeth, the valve between your esophagus and stomach will begin to function incorrectly causing you acid reflux.

All of these methods will give you Last Minute Weight Loss, but none of them can be sustained for any extended length of time. Diets that require this type of eating never provide a balanced, nutritional eating plan. Any balanced diet includes a variety of foods, and no one food group should be relied on entirely or completely eliminated.

How to recognize a fad diet.

Fad diets are typically very low calorie, which is unhealthy and can even be dangerous. They usually require sudden, drastic changes, such as completely eliminating an entire food group or cutting your caloric intake by too many calories. For women that would be fewer than 1200 calories and less than 1400 for men. Making such rapid changes does not prepare you for returning to normal eating or teach you how to make important lifestyle changes such as portion control or making better food choices, skills which are crucial for long-term weight management.

The best way to lose weight and keep it of is with a sound diet and exercise program. A good diet is one that you can build your life around. Most people can lose a substantial amount of weight on a diet of around 1,500 calories a day, which allows for at least three 300-400 calorie meals and two 100-200 calorie snacks.

The goal is to burn more calories then you are consuming. Under normal conditions a healthy body requires about 1000 calories per day just to function. So if you are man and you go on a healthy 1500 calorie a day diet and make it to the gym and burn and extra 500 calories you will lose weight.

Successful Weight Loss Story: 38 Pounds in 9 Months


Saving My Life

As of this article’s date, I’ve lost approximately 38 pounds and dropped from a waist size of 40 inches to a lose 36 inches. It’s been a long nine months, during which time I’ve had to endure the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Easter, two family vacations and a job which requires me to eat out several times each week. My secret? Just a desire to live longer than most of my family.

I can vividly remember sitting in my doctor’s office that Tuesday morning, thumbing through an old magazine in a numb haze. It had been barely 48 hours since my mother had passed away, seemingly a victim of an ongoing heart condition. Even with a history of coronary problems, she seemed to be in great health of late and was enjoying life. She had recently celebrated her 66th birthday, retired from a long career as a critical care nurse and was planning her next vacation adventure. Nobody expected her to simply die without warning while sitting at the breakfast table, enjoying her morning coffee. It was a devastating kick in the face to both my sister and me.

Over the preceding two days, I had thought a lot about my family and something oddly obvious occurred to me. It seemed that a most of my family had died at a young age. I flipped through some family records only to confirm what I already expected. It seemed that a vast majority of my extended family had died at an early age, with most attributed to some type of coronary problem. As I watched my kids run through the house, I decided that I didn’t want to suffer the same fate. I picked up the phone and scheduled an emergency visit with my doctor.

He was nice enough to fit me in the next morning and we discussed possible Exerciseoptions to improve my health. To be clear, I was not in horrible health and was reasonably active with camping and other physical activities. I was, as my doctor put it, way over my ideal weight. After talking about the situation a bit, we decided that an appetite suppressant might be the best alternative to fad dieting or starvation. I starting taking the new drug later that day and made a conscious effect to change my eating habits.

Over the next few months, I satisfied my desire for fatty, high calorie foods simply by cutting the portions in half. I turned to small chunks of dark chocolate to curb my sweet tooth and avoided most pastries or desserts. My dining choices turned to grilled fish or meat, lots of vegetables and whole grain breads. Although I didn’t cut out starches, I did cut the portion sizes and avoided excess butter. I also found that eating six to seven small meals per day helped keep my appetite in check and allow me to stay within my dietary limits. Whatever I was doing, it was working. It seemed that simply cutting my caloric intake and increasing my activity level was actually helping me to lose weight. No fad diets, exercise machines, sweat suits or starving myself into a coma.

In all, this has been a successful dieting experience which I intend to continue for many years. I have learned that I don’t have to deny myself the foods that I love, but just to love them a little less. It is my hope that this change in my eating habits and weight will allow me to outlive my family history.

Momma’s Weight Loss Plan

As a single mom of four, I was finding it hard to lose all the belly weighed gained over six years. I was 130lbs before getting pregnant with my oldest. Six years later, I was 190 lbs, and feeling like a cellulite queen. (please, no offense if you are larger). I had to do something. So I made up my mind. I was not going to let the fatigue and laziness get me down, I am beautiful, but right now my beauty is hiding.

Using this diet and exercise plan, I went from January being 190 lb’s to being 160 lbs by June. But don’t take my word for it, give it a try for yourself, you will feel great.

My diet routine:

I would start the day off waking up at 5:30 am to take a shower and then get kids ready for school. I would grab a slim fast shake (powder not premade) and off I would go walking the kids to the bus stop. Then I would return home for a 20 minute work out (see work out routine). On certain days I would also volunteer at the local pre-school were I would eat child sized servings of food along with my shake, and all the activity there would help burn off the excessive calories.

Drink one slim fast shake for breakfast with maybe some yogurt, fruit, or a muffin. Then have another shake for lunch with half a sandwich or soup. Then have a nice home cooked dinner that fills ¾ of the plate with vegetables, 1/3 with meat and another with a side.

My work out routine:

20 minutes a day I would work out, and on especially good days I would do more, but I really didn’t need to.

I would start off by stretching every muscle from head to toe. Then I would count out as many belly crunches as I could do, and then do them in three different ways. Flat on my back rolling to my knees, knees bent and on my side lifting straight up (laying completely sideways) then the same on the other side. This worked three different muscle groups in the belly.

Then I would return to my back for another exercise to work the lower belly, as well as legs. I would lay one leg flat with toes pointed up, and lift it as high as I could and lower it back down nice and slow like. I would count out 10 or more of these, and then switch to do the other side. I did this same exercise while lying on my tummy to work the buttocks.

A few other exercises included the use of a rubber tubing used for stretching and working the upper body muscles (I got it form my physical therapist). I used several different moves to work several different muscles.

First I attached the tubing to a hook in the ceiling and brought my elbows to my side, the using my lower arms pulled down on the tubes. I also did this same exercise spreading my arms out like wings and pulling down to work the sides of my chest. Then turning away from the hook, I was able to pull the tubes from behind me around my chest keeping my arms straight, this worked shoulder and chest muscles.

Another exercise which can be done no matter where you are is a wall push up, or a counter push up. I would do this while doing dishes to take a few minutes break. You lean like a board against a wall or counter and simply push your chest off the wall or counter, still leaning your entire wait against the wall or counter. This works your arms and upper chest muscles.

Keys to Weight Loss: Drinking Lots of Water to Not Mixing TV and Food


Almost everyone wants to lose weight, whether it’s 2 pounds or 200 pounds. Sometimes we don’t realize how easy it can be and sometimes we just need a little help. Here are 5 tips to help you get started losing that weight.

  1. Never eat in front of the television. When you watch TV, you aren’t paying attention to what you’re eating. It’s easy to forget to pay attention to your body’s natural signals of satiety when you’re distracted by television. That means you are likely to eat more than you would if you were sitting at your kitchen table (or other designated eating area) paying attention to every bite that goes into your mouth. And don’t forget that TV is filled with ads for food, just watching TV makes you more likely to eat (the power of suggestion).
  2. Drink a lot of water. Drink as much water as you can. Don’t drink sodas or soft drinks. Diet sodas, while better because they have no calories, have been said to CAUSE feelings of hunger! And regular sodas have hundreds of calories. You can not only save tons of calories by cutting out sodas and soft drinks but you can save tons of cash too! Tap water (or filtered water) is free, while sodas, like everything else are getting more and more expensive.
  3. Eat high fiber foods. The more fiber you eat, the fuller you feel. Also, the more fiber you eat, the less likely your body is to absorb fat! Your colon will function better and you’ll just feel better in general. You can get fiber by choosing foods that are made with whole grain. Apples (with the peel), broccoli, legumes, and beans all are high in fiber.
  4. Walk whenever you can. Aim to walk at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. vegetablesYou don’t have to do this all at one time. We’re all really busy, but everyone can find 10 minutes here and there to take a quick walk. Quit smoking and go for a “walk break” instead of a smoke break! Take the stairs instead of the elevator (you’ll get used to it, I promise!). Park a little farther away from your destination instead of fighting with everyone else over the closest spaces – another plus is that you’ll reduce stress since parking spaces will be easier to come by and it will take much less time to park if you just park in the first space you find. Take your dog for a walk! Your dog will thank you, too.
    5. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Don’t eat 3 large meals, you’ll be hungry and eat more if you don’t eat for at least 5 hours. Have 3 smaller meals a day and at least 2 healthy snacappleks (be sure to have some protein, i.e. cheese, nuts, peanut butter, milk, chicken). Make sure your meals count. Don’t eat chips or cookies for your snacks. Have fruit or veggies with some protein in between meals and you’ll feel fuller and eat fewer calories.

And of course, we can all use some help, especially as we get older and our metabolism slows down. I personally have used The Apple Patch Diet to lose 29 pounds! It’s all natural and so easy to use (you only have to change it 1 time every 3 days). If you’re looking for something that will help push the scale in the right direction, then you should check it out. Good luck losing weight!!!