One of the first Obesity Weight Loss Programs specifically targeted to teens has opened at Rose Medical Center in Denver. Although the center provides a full range of surgical and medical weight loss services for overweight adolescents, a primary feature of the program is to cater to teens wanting weight loss surgery.
The surgical weight loss center for teens opens at a time when weight loss surgery for teens is highly controversial. Although lap band surgery and gastric bypass surgery is still considered experimental in children and adolescents, some physicians believe that the health benefits outweigh the risks and that the rules are different for morbidly obese teens.
Dr. Michael A. Snyder, medical director for the teen weight loss program at Rose, is one of the few bariatric surgeons who will operate on people younger than 18. The program will provide pre and post surgical preparation, nutritional counseling, exercise guidelines, psychological counseling, support groups, and a teen mentoring program.
Childhood obesity has risen significantly in recent years, with 16 to 33 percent of children and adolescents now considered obese. The health consequences of obesity are great, putting youths at risk of developing serious medical complications such as diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and joint problems both now and later in life. Early intervention is key to helping overweight teens reach and maintain a healthy weight for life.
While pediatric bariatricians are in agreement about the need to do something for teen obesity, not all support the use of weight loss surgery. Many physicians argue that performing weight loss surgery on adolescents is irresponsible and unsafe and believe that more attention should be given to non-surgical solutions.
The Rose Teen Weight Loss Program is not only for teens who want to have surgery, but for all teens who want to turn their health around. Whether they chose surgery or not, teens have the opportunity to work with a wide range of pediatric specialists to learn healthier patterns of eating and exercise that will help them lose weight and improve their health.