Diet and Weight Loss News

Severe obesed teenagers will be given drastic weight-loss surgery under a NSW Government strategy to fight the obesity epidemic

Written By Betty van der Mark on Thursday, October 9, 2008 | 9:16 AM

The Children's Hospital at Westmead is set to be the first in the State to offer taxpayer-funded gastric banding.
Doctors say the radical measure is needed to save teens with severe weight-related health conditions.

Dr Michael Kohn, of adolescent medicine at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, told The Sunday Telegraph lap-banding would be restricted to teens aged 14 and over because it was too controversial in younger children.

He said the surgery was reversible and could stall - or even resolve - severe health problems until teens could establish controlled eating patterns.

"Certainly with eating disorders, it's really about getting the young person through a critical period and developing eating patterns they can maintain,'' he said.

"I think the degree to which (our) population is overweight is not dissimilar to the US.''

Dr Kohn will formally apply to provide bariatric - or weight-loss - surgery in three weeks.

The State Government agreed it would provide funding for the surgery two months ago, with the first clinics expected to open by the end of 2008.

Publicly funded weight-loss surgery is expected to be available across the State by 2012.

Dr Kohn said some young people were developing severe lifestyle-related conditions such as pancreatitis and type 2 diabetes which needed urgent medical action.

Gastric banding costs at least $10,000 - an unaffordable amount for most parents of morbidly obese children, with statistics showing obesity levels are higher in poorer "battler'' areas of NSW.
Source: The Daily Telegraph