Thursday, May 6, 2010

Surgery "Should Be Last Resort For Obese Children"

“In a review of studies on the obesity epidemic, scientists from Britain and the United States said lifestyle changes such as better diet and more exercise should always be the first option, and treatment with drugs should be used rarely. Bariatric surgery, or weight-loss surgery, such as operations to apply gastric bands to limit the stomach size of severely overweight people, should be a last resort, they said. ‘The risks of bariatric surgery are substantial, and long-term safety and effectiveness in children remain largely unknown,’ Sue Kimm of the University of New Mexico, Debbie Lawlor of Britain's Bristol University and Joan Han of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, wrote in The Lancet journal. They said surgery should be reserved for only the most severely obese children -- those with a body mass index (BMI) over 50, or those with a BMI over 40 and other major health risk factors -- and "even then considered with extreme caution". The Lancet review highlighted data up to 2006 showing that prevalence of childhood obesity either doubled or trebled between the early 1970s and late 1990s in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Britain and the United States. The rise is attributed mainly to children having a more sedentary lifestyle and eating more calorific foods. The experts said prevention, especially in young children, is by far the best approach to the rising global obesity levels. Policies encouraging parents to give their children healthy food, boost physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour should be introduced in households, schools and communities, they said.”

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