As reported in the Wall Street Journal‘s weekend edition (Feb. 15-16), some surgeons are responding to the growing juvenile obesity epidemic worldwide by performing bariatric stomach-reducing surgery. In Saudi Arabia, where juvenile obesity has be become a major public health concern due to the effects of affluence and a sedentary culture, this surgery has been recommended not just for young adults, but for children as young as 3 years old.
This is absolutely unfathomable to me. While I understand the serious health issues facing young obese children, why would surgery (and pharmaceuticals, too, for that matter) be the primary response, instead of behavior modification?
I’m not the only one to feel this way. Buried deep in the Wall Street Journal article are these observations:
“One of the main criticisms from some weight-loss experts about preforming the surgery on those under 14 is that changes in diet and exercise can prevent further weight gain.” Also, “[s]ome bariatric surgery experts have raised questions about whether children are capable of maintaining the restrictive lifetime diet [that surgery requires] after surgery or whether they will sabotage the procedure when they become teenagers and have a greater autonomy to eat what they want.”
Yes, let’s consider giving our kids better food in more reasonable quantities, and encouraging them to exercise and play more before we wheel them into an operating room to lose weight. Adopting a healthy, active lifestyle should always be the first approach.
To see the full article, go to: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579360992538215578?KEYWORDS=obesity+surgery&mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702304851104579360992538215578.html%3FKEYWORDS%3Dobesity%2Bsurgery