At Obesity Week in Los Angeles this past week, The Obesity Society partnered with the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery to co-host their annual meetings. Of course, there was a big focus on the role of surgical interventions for obesity management in adults and adolescents.
So, it was timely that this paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Thomas Inge and colleagues (which included Meg Zeller, a member of our Team ABC3 Scientific Advisory Board) showed that bariatric surgery (gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy) in adolescents led to significant improvements in weight, cardiometabolic health, and psychosocial health at 3 years after the procedure. It was the largest analysis of the effects of bariatric surgery in teens; it was also the first to demonstrate that surgical interventions can have a longer-term impact on the health of adolescents with severe obesity.
Researchers examined 242 13 to 19 year olds. Following surgery, mean BMI in the teens decreased from 53 to 38 kg/m2. They also had significant improvements in risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For example, ~60% of the participants no longer had high cholesterol, over 85% improved their kidney function, and type 2 diabetes resolved in almost all teens who presented with diabetes. Weight-related quality of life also improved significantly.
Although we did not include any studies of bariatric surgery in our team grant, it’s becoming increasingly clear that surgical interventions are beneficial and safe for many individuals (adults and adolescents) living with and managing severe obesity.