More Obese Teens Are Turning to Lap Band Surgery

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

"You have to exercise and you have to eat correctly or else it's not going to work," said Dr. Lauren McAllister with Southeastern Pediatrics Association.

It all makes logical sense.

If you eat right and exercise you'll lose weight.

But for some teens those options are not working for them.

As a result, they're looking instead at lap band surgery to drop those pounds.

“It's become a popular fix, they think the lap band is going to make a quick fix and that they're going to lose 50-60 pounds just by having this simple surgical procedure and they don't want to understand that they have to make lifestyle changes," said Dr. McAllister.

Dr. McAllister says she has had teenagers come to her as young as 13 years old asking for the procedure.

Most of them, she says are girls.

According to a recent study, gastric band surgeries have increased 7-fold from 2005-2007 among teenagers under the age of 18.

"They're battling with body image issues that they want to be what our society shows them is that they want to be these thin models that they see in the magazines," said Dr. McAllister.

A doctor with the Southeast Alabama Medical Center said no physicians in this area will perform the procedure; the closest a patient would have to travel is to Jacksonville, FL.

"Many of the physicians here in the area are not as comfortable doing it with teenagers here and they have to be kind of more later adolescents," said Dr. McAllister.

Dr. McAllister says the most important thing for a teenager to learn is acceptance of their own body.

The lap band surgery costs more than 17-thousand dollars

Dr. McAllister says most parents are willing to pay for it all up front.

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