In the latest issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers report a steady rise in stomach surgery for teens. The gastric band procedure, which involves wrapping an adjustable band around a person’s stomach to decrease food intake, is getting more popular with adolescents who want to drop pounds.
The UCLA scientists studied a population of California teens between the ages of 13 and 20 and found that from 2005 to 2007 the rate of gastric bands went up sevenfold, to 1.5 kids per 100,000. Meanwhile, the use of more traditional gastric bypass surgery in teens fell from 3.8 to 2.7 per 100,000.
Gastric banding isn’t approved by the F.D.A. for children under 18, so there is some concern about the rates of this surgery rising. And what population of teens is it most popular with?
White girls. According to WebMD’s analysis of the study, even though white adolescent girls account for 28 percent of overweight teens, they are getting 65 percent of the procedures. And although 52 percent of the overweight adolescents were Latino, they represented 21 percent of the gastric bands.
As Sandy mentioned in a post earlier this year, nearly one third of American children and teens are overweight or obese. Causes are thought to be everything from diet to sleep patterns. What do you think about the gastric band for young people: a decent last resort for a teen who is overweight or risky surgery that should be saved for those 18+?
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