Weigh In: Should Bariatric Surgery Be Legal for Minors?

Julie Clark Robinson on 11 May 2011 at 12:00pm

We all know childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing in the United States.  Reality star/chef Jamie Oliver, Michelle Obama, Oprah and many other celebrities whose names don’t start with “O” have all raised their voices in the name of awareness.   It's common knowledge that obesity can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, liver disease and of course, a low self-esteem.

Do we want that for our kids?  Of course not.  So do we make bariatric surgery -- one of the most successful tools in weight loss for the obese -- available to them?  That’s exactly what medical professionals and parents alike are wrestling with according to the results of a recent national poll conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

obese kids and bariatric surgeryThe general consensus is that obese minors should participate in at least a year of a traditional weight-loss program before even considering surgery.

Does dancing count?  You bet it does. Last month Beyonce released her new single, “Get me Bodied”,  to encourage school-age kids to not only get off their butts, but to shake them.  The music video shows the celeb icon bursting into a school cafeteria and it’s pretty much a flash mob from there out.  “A little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody,” Beyonce sings to the kids. (Really? A double negative and “ain’t” in a video aimed at school children?)

But I digress… How do you feel about bariatric surgery for people under the age of 18?  Is age the only issue or is it more complicated than that?

Photo credits: cliff1066 and calros on flickr.com

Gastric bypass before and after