While many people focus on getting into better shape around New Year’s, a surgeon who performs weight loss operations says he’s seeing more teenagers from western Iowa and eastern Nebraska requesting his help.
Dr. Ranjan Sudan, based at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, says obese teens are showing severe medical problems at an earlier age. Sudan says "Type Two diabetes, which was virtually unknown in the younger kids, is now becoming much more common. And also, there’s the social impact of being large."
He says the most common procedure in teens is a lap band surgery that creates a smaller stomach. While this surgery is showing good results, Sudan says it’s not the magic solution to obesity. He says "This is not a quick fix. There are longterm complications associated that can happen at any stage, and then there’s the nutritional issues and compliance with taking vitamins and developing a good diet and exercise pattern."
Sudan says some doctors are looking at performing weight loss surgeries on children as young as five. He says at that age, diet and exercise are safer options.
In 2004, over 120-thousand Americans had some form of weight loss surgery. A recent study found nearly 25-percent of Iowans are obese.