A very good indicator for the health of the nation is the national epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity, currently a target objective for Healthy people 2010 (DHHS). The Surgeon General reports there are 12.5 million children between toddlers and school age who are obese, a prevalence of 17%, while children at risk for obesity have a prevalence of 16% (General). A third of the child population are obese or at risk for obesity. This condition crosses all age groups, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and is determined by the measurement of high Body Mass Index (BMI), based on weights and heights in children. Obesity is a leading contributing factor known to have an effect on the morbidity and mortality rates. This condition is one of the main reasons for the rise in hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression; chronic illnesses and diseases that are commonly associated with adults. Children and adolescent obesity continue to be a risk for health in the United States, especially when it manifests early in life. If the condition of childhood obesity is not reduced, the life expectancy for this generation of children could be less than their parents and grandparents. Currently the nation has several initiatives to combat the childhood obesity epidemic e.g. The First Lady, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s move” campaign, the FDA’s calories count, along with local municipalities changing school lunch programs, just to name a few. However, when severely obese children do not have success with non-surgical approaches some turn to bariatric surgery.
Bariatric surgery is the reduction in size or restriction of the stomach in order to reduce the amount of food a person consumes. Bariatric surgical procedures have been performed on adults since the 1960s, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) is most recognized although there are 4 types: RYGB, Adjustable Gastric Banding (AGB), Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) and Biliopancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD-DS). RYGB and AGB are the two options currently performed on obese adolescents; however, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the usage for AGB for adolescents under 18 years of age.
The National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Disease reports between the period of 1996 through 2003, an estimated 2,700 adolescents had bariatric surgery(cite). Although criteria for bariatric surgery are very conservative, the number of surgeries continues to increase, as more children and adolescents are diagnosed as extremely obese.
Obesity defined for children and adolescents is having a BMI greater than the 85th percentile of measured weights and heights according to age; this measure does not determine where fat deposits exist on a child’s body. The causes of obesity are complex they include a genetic predisposing for the condition with contributing factors; factors of behavior, environment, culture, ethnicity,...