Safe Weight Loss Procedures For Adolescents

The teenage years are one of the most challenging phases of one’s life, bringing with them a number of physical and emotional changes. Unfortunately, some adolescents face additional struggles that affect their physical and mental health due to obesity. Currently, in the U.S., around 42% of the adult population is obese, and nearly 20% of the nation’s children are obese.

Today we are going to talk about adolescent weight loss and what the options are when traditional methods fail. If you or a loved one are struggling with this issue, you may find this article a helpful resource when researching safe and effective treatment options.

Obesity In The Adolescent

Determining obesity for an adult comes down to comparing the result of a calculation using height and weight to a standard BMI chart. Calculations that are higher than 30 are considered obese and then broken down into advanced categories of obesity, classes 1 through 3, with the latter being the most severe form.

The CDC uses a slightly different method for determining obesity in children and adolescents through growth charts that are categorized by age and gender. A calculation is done based on measurements taken related to height and weight, and then a percentile is assigned to that individual. The percentile shows where this person would fall on the chart in relation to others of the same gender and the same age. For example, if an adolescent boy was in the 75th percentile, that would mean that he had a higher BMI than 75% of the boys in his age group. In the case of children and teens, anyone in the 95th percentile and above is classified as obese.

Dangers of Teenage Obesity

When a teen is obese, it means they have too much body fat, and this can happen for many reasons, including:

  • A diet packed with junk food, and other unhealthy food choices;
  • Spending too much time sitting or laying around and not getting enough physical exercise;
  • Genetics;
  • Stress, emotional issues, not enough sleep;
  • Certain medical conditions.

Carrying excess body fat is dangerous and poses many health risks for adults, and these threats are amplified for younger individuals. Aside from the well-known complications of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, joint issues, fatty liver disease, coronary disease, etc., teens can also suffer vision and hearing loss as well as psychosocial effects.

Dieting Issues For Teens

Losing weight for an adult is often similar to pulling a fully loaded wagon uphill by yourself. It is an even bigger challenge when you are a teenager and have an elevated BMI. There are some important points that must be considered when contemplating effective weight loss for adolescents, including

  • The adolescent body is still growing and developing, so it is very important that they get the vitamins and nutrients they need during this critical time. Fad diets, or those that restrict entire food groups, can be counterproductive if used by teens;
  • Teens can have issues concentrating in school if they are hungry, which can affect their education both in the short term and long term;
  • Eating disorders are more prevalent in adolescents and can be triggered by unsuccessful dieting attempts;
  • Several studies have revealed that teens who went on a “diet” ended up gaining weight and not losing it. The studies also showed that the teens who tried to control their weight through dieting were more likely to be obese five years later or end up with an eating disorder;
  • As a teenager navigates through puberty, their body is experiencing many hormonal changes as it grows and develops, which makes them more sensitive to changes to their diet or other strategies for losing weight;
  • Peer pressure, body image issues, social factors, and fluctuating emotions can create stress and have an impact on a teen’s eating habits, making it harder for them to make healthy food choices.

Strategies For The Best Weight Loss For Adolescents

Changes In Lifestyle

The best weight loss approach for adolescents is to forget the concept of “dieting” and make lifestyle changes that promote improved health, and the weight loss should follow.

These may include:

  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet;
  • Participating in daily physical activity;
  • Working with a nutritionist or dietician.

If you are a parent, leading by example will go a long way toward helping your teenager succeed. They may be interested in helping with menu choices and will be receptive to eating the healthy foods they have chosen. Engaging in some outdoor activities as a family, like playing basketball or taking a walk, can help promote a healthier lifestyle.

Changes In Behavior

A behavioral therapist (BT) is a valuable resource that can help a teen understand some of the emotional elements that may have contributed to their poor health. Sometimes, when we can identify our areas of weakness, we can better prepare to face them successfully. A BT can help with strategies to change old unhealthy habits into healthier ones.

Making lifestyle changes also requires making changes in behavior. Letting go of old habits that created the health issues and trading them in for new, healthier behavior, is what will make the difference. Trading that late-night bowl of ice cream for a serving of yogurt and granola or swapping out sugar-filled sodas for flavored water. It is about taking what is learned about nutrition and food and putting it into practice. This will not happen overnight; it is a process, but each time you deliberately choose to make a favorable health-based decision, that is one step closer to improved health and achieving your goals.

What Can You Do When Nothing Else Has Been Effective?

Sometimes, despite lifestyle changes and increases in physical activity, the pounds just do not come off. This may be due to hormones, medical conditions, or simply metabolic adaptations that the body performs as part of its survival instinct. Whatever the reason, this is the point where you should seek some professional help. A medical professional who is trained in obesity management will be an invaluable resource and can provide guidance, support, and medical weight loss assistance to adolescents to help them become healthier.

How Can Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center Help A Teenager?

The main focus when assisting an adolescent is to focus on the total picture of their health and not concentrate on what the scale says. There are times when medical intervention is necessary to help get things moving in the right direction, and at Batash Medical, we have had success in helping teens significantly improve their health and well-being. Today, there are a few safe and effective weight loss options that can help young people, including:

Prescription Medication

Weight loss injections have made a significant impact since they hit the market a little over a year ago, and the demand is so great that some manufacturers have experienced shortages. A recent news story reported the results of a clinical study that was conducted with adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. Those who received weekly injections of the prescription drug Semaglutide lost almost 15% of their starting weight. By the time the study concluded, over 40% of the teens who were using a combination of prescription injections and changes to their lifestyles had reduced their BMI by at least 20%. Even more startling than those results were the ones achieved by the control group, who received a placebo and diet and exercise counseling. This group gained almost 3% of their total body weight during the trial. Crazy right?

Bariatric Surgery

In some cases, bariatric surgery may be recommended for the teen, and the most common procedure done on teens is the gastric sleeve (VSG). According to UCLA Health, this surgery offers comparable results in adolescents to gastric bypass in adults. It is also effective in alleviating co-morbidities that accompany obesity. The downside is that surgery is very invasive, there are a number of risks involved, and there is a fairly substantial recovery time. Gastric sleeve surgery involves surgically removing a large portion of stomach tissue and suturing the remainder together and is non-reversible. Many patients suffer from acid reflux after undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure and resort to a conversion to a gastric bypass to gain relief.

Suture Sculpt Endoscopic Sleeve Gastroplasty

Are Endoscopic Weight Loss Procedures Safe For Adolescents?

Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center 97-12 63rd Dr., Suite 1D Rego Park, NY 11374 (718) 830-0004

The best option for weight loss for adolescents who have not had success with lifestyle modifications alone is a fairly new endoscopic procedure called Suture Sculpt ESG (endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty). This procedure offers similar results as a surgical gastric sleeve but without the surgery part. The entire procedure is done from inside through a special instrument that is lowered down the patient’s throat. The stomach size is reduced using a special stitching device, but no stomach tissue is removed. If, for some reason, it was found necessary, the stitches could be removed and the procedure reversed. The smaller stomach size limits the amount that can be eaten at one time, and it helps the person stay feeling full longer. With Suture Sculpt ESG, the risk rate is minimal (<1%), and recovery time is just a few days. There are no activity restrictions, so getting back to your normal routine is not an issue.

In some cases, Suture Sculpt ESG may be combined with prescription medication to help alleviate food cravings and promote weight loss.

No matter which treatments or combination of strategies are chosen to treat adolescents, it is important they have continuous support and monitoring. A doctor like Stephen Batash and the support team of professionals at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss Center can help guide and support adolescents through their weight loss journey and continuously monitor their progress, making adjustments to their program if necessary. Batash Medical understands that working with adolescent weight loss patients requires a different approach than working with adults. We have the knowledge and expertise to ensure the methods used are safe, effective, and appropriate for their needs.

Adolescent obesity is a serious issue, but it can be overcome using the right combination of safe and effective strategies. Our goal is to help teens focus on their total health, make positive lifestyle changes that will benefit their health, and gain a healthier life. If you or a loved one are grappling with obesity, reach out to us and let’s talk. We can help you reach your goal of better health and improve your quality of life.

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