Bariatric Surgery Underused in Adolescents With Severe Obesity

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Inadequate education and awareness are some reasons why bariatric surgery rates are low in adolescents with severe obesity.
Inadequate education and awareness are some reasons why bariatric surgery rates are low in adolescents with severe obesity.

Bariatric surgery remains underused in overweight or obese adolescents, according to research presented at the ENDO 2018: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, held March 17-20, in Chicago, Illinois.1

Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, from the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, sought to compare the prevalence of obesity with the underuse of bariatric surgery by evaluating data obtained from surgical centers in 5 states for 14- to 25-year-old patients with a body mass index ≥40.

Among 2,500,635 individuals, 18,008 (0.7%) had severe obesity. At Partners Healthcare, 21.5% of 1879 patients underwent bariatric surgery compared with 2.5% of 1788 patients at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri; 2.3% of 575 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; 1.4% of 2969 patients at Boston Medical Center; and 0.4% of 8909 patients at Boston Children's Hospital.

Researchers suggest a lack of support, inadequate education and awareness, and inadequate tools and access to navigate the decision-making process regarding bariatric surgery as reasons why the rate of adolescents undergoing bariatric surgery is low.

“This finding is a wake-up call that we need to adequately use the appropriate treatment modality for the severity of the disease, which for many people with more severe obesity is weight loss surgery,” said Dr Stanford in a press release.2


Visit Endocrinology Advisor's conference section for more highlights from ENDO 2018.

References

  1. Stanford FC, Campoverde Reyes KJ, Misra M. Weight loss surgery utilization in patients aged 14-25 with severe obesity among several healthcare institutions in the United States. Presented at: ENDO 2018: The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting; Chicago, IL; March 17-20, 2018. Abstract MON-069.
  2. Few young patients with severe obesity undergo weight loss surgery [press release]. Washington, CD: Endocrine Society. Published March 19, 2018. Accessed March 19, 2018.
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