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A recent study out of the UK reveals that hundreds of people under the age of 25 have undergone bariatric surgery in the past three years.
The National Bariatric Surgery Registry (NBSR), a professional society of surgeons involved in obesity management, stated in its Second Registry Report that 108 men and 462 women aged 24 or under had undergone some form of weight loss surgery operation between 2011 and 2013, including 62 people under the age of 18. Remarkably, nearly 40 per cent of these patients were classified as 'super-obese'.
Super Obese Surgery
To be deemed 'super-obese' you must be sufficiently overweight as to have a body mass index of 50 or more. This means that these youngsters were already more than twice the weight they should be for their height.
"It is a reflection on society's failings that these patients had already gained sufficient weight to be broadly comparable to patients who are much older," said the NBSR report.
The Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
The aim of bariatric surgery is to improve the health of obese patients, for whom dieting and exercise have not made a significant difference.
According to the NBSR, more than 65% of obese patients with type two diabetes showed little to no sign of the condition two years after undergoing surgery, and on average patients lost 58% of their excess weight within a year post operation. A figure which rises to 68.7% for those patients who underwent gastric bypass surgery.
Furthermore, more than 60% of patients with sleep apnoea were able to come off treatment following bariatric surgery, the report found.
The NBSR report looked at more than 18,200 weight loss surgery operations, and provides the first in-depth description of bariatric surgery in patients under the age of 25 in the United Kingdom.
As of December 2014, an equivalent study is yet to be performed in Australia. The exact number of under 25s who’ve undergone weight loss surgery has not been collated.
Image credit: healthychild.org