Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) for Children

Some children become obese at an early age.  Often they have a hard time fitting in with their peers and struggle through school and home feeling ‘different’ from other children.  Obese children used to be very rare, but in modern day life, childhood obesity is becoming a much more common problem.  There are lots of factors which have led to an increase in obesity in childhood, such as less opportunities for physical activities, easy available of junk food and difficult emotional issues to tackle for modern day children.

Weight loss surgery is generally unsuitable for children under the age of 18 or young people.  Children’s bodies are still growing and developing and having weight loss surgery requires great physiological maturity.  There have been some cases of weight loss surgery being performed on teenagers whose health has been at risk from excessive weight, mainly in the United States.

If you have an obese child you may be wondering what you can do as weight loss surgery is not a suitable or realistic option in the majority of cases.  Always seek professional help and get advice about healthy eating and exercise.  Many parents feel very distressed and feel like they have tried everything before they approach their family GP.  The issue of childhood obesity is not an easy one and needs to be dealt with sensitively.  It is very easy for your obese child to get the message that they are ‘naughty’ or ‘wrong’ because of their excessive weight, which in some cases can lead to issues around food.  It has been known for overweight children to become anorexic teenagers as they develop an obsession with food. 

Weight Loss Options for Children

Your child’s doctor will hopefully be familiar with your child’s medical history and will have an insight into some of the possible causes for your child’s excessive weight.  Some issues that you might explore when you meet with your doctor include; lack of results after establishing a healthy diet, self-esteem or social issues, the reasons for your child’s refusal to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and weight related health issues.  It is difficult facing these issues but exploring them and therefore getting help for your child is a very positive step.  You might be visiting your family GP to ask about weight loss medications for your child or teenager.  Sadly most weight loss medications are not suitable for children under 12 and they are rarely prescribed to children who have not undergone puberty.  Some teenagers are sometimes prescribed weight loss medications however your GP will want to see that your teenager has tried healthy eating and exercise to loss weight first.  Always discuss the side effects of the medications with your child or teenager and make sure they understand that these medications are not a 'magic pill' to make them thin.  It is important that your child or teenager understands the importance of taking the medication correctly and that they are taking it responsibly.  

Weight loss programs and support groups are worth investigating for your child or teenager.  Having peers around them who have similar issues and problems around food and weight can be very positive.  Many children and teenagers who are obese find themselves feeling very isolated at school.  Having contact with other children and teenagers who share their problems can be very positive and encourage them to express their feelings and work through problems.  

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