According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 40% of American adults (or 93.3 million people) are obese. But obesity isn’t just a condition that affects adults.
Around the world, obesity rates have been on the rise. Since 1975, the worldwide obesity rate has nearly tripled, with 650 million obese adults, according to estimates from the World Health Organization.
A paper published in the journal Pediatrics claims that the obesity epidemic is beginning to place more and more children and adolescents at risk of living significantly shorter lives than their parents.
About 4.5 million American children are severely obese. Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest more children should be considered for weight-loss surgery.
Children that are obese will likely experience health conditions such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and type two diabetes, along with mental health issues such as depression.
As of now, most children with severe obesity do not get weight-loss surgeries. The main reason for this is that it’s not usually covered by public or private health insurance, and can cost a hefty $20,000. After the surgery, there are also follow-up costs, that are also often not covered by insurance.
Studies have shown weight-loss surgery is safe and effective for children and teens when performed in a high-quality center.
At a fundamental level, obesity occurs when people regularly eat more calories than they burn. Of course, a number of other factors could contribute to obesity, but assuming the issue is based on just overeating, then it’s really just a simple fix.
It’s as simple as paying attention to what kinds of food we are buying, and making sure portion sizes are accurate.
Obesity is clearly a big problem in the U.S., but I don’t believe that weight-loss surgery should be a common solution for children with obesity. Instead, we should focus on teaching them healthy lifestyle habits. Teaching them to eat in moderation, eat healthier foods and exercising daily are likely to be just as effective as any weight-loss surgery.
After the weight-loss surgery, patients will have to conform to a strict diet and workout routine to maintain the results anyway, so why not teach children healthy habits ourselves instead of subjecting them to a lengthy procedure with a long healing time?
We can avoid these issues altogether by providing children with the knowledge of how to take care of themselves, and about the consequences when they don’t.
We don’t need to be performing weight-loss surgeries on children to fix this issue.