Weight loss surgery for kids

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Most obese adults were also obese as children. Our children are facing a health crisis that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

That’s why doctors are turning to some very adult solutions to help children get their weight back on track.

For as long as you can remember, Harley Boaz felt different.

“I never got numbers from guys, never was called cute, never was called pretty,” Boaz recalled.

At her heaviest, Harley weighed 285 lbs. and she was struggling with adult health problems.

“I was diagnosed with hypertension, which I was hospitalized for, which was very scary. I was prediabetic. I had high cholesterol,” Boaz said.

“We’re seeing comorbidities in these kids now, that we never saw in people until their forties or fifties before. So, early intervention is the key,” said Shawn Stafford, MD, a metabolic/bariatric surgeon at the Texas Children’s Hospital.

A multidisciplinary team at Texas Children’s Hospital is helping their obese pediatric patients by offering them a comprehensive plan starting with six months of mental and nutritional counseling followed by surgery.

“Everybody that rolls through the door doesn’t get surgery,” Dr. Stafford said. “They have to demonstrate over the course of this preoperative period that they’re motivated and that they’re capable of making mature decisions about changing a lifestyle and making it stick.”

Harley opted for a sleeve gastrectomy.

“We remove 80 percent of the outside stomach. So the stomach that’s left is about the size and shape of a banana,” Dr. Stafford explained.

One year after surgery, Harley has lost over 100 lbs.

“My diagnosis started to get better. It was life changing for me. It really was. I have been asked out and given numbers more times this year than I have in my whole life,” Boaz said.

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