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Weight Loss Surgery Effective for Teens, Study Finds

Update Date: Nov 06, 2015 09:30 AM EST

Weight loss surgery can be an effective option for obese teenagers, a new study found. According to the researchers, obese teens experienced weight loss and health gains for at least three years after their procedure.

For this study, which is the largest and longest one yet involving obesity surgery, researchers analyzed a sample set of 228 teens between the ages of 13 and 19 who had obesity-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure prior to surgery. After undergoing obesity surgery, the researchers found that the participants experienced a lot of health gains, such as a reduction in triglyceride levels.

Conditions such as, high blood pressure, abnormal kidney function and prediabetes disappeared in the majority of the participants post surgery.

Average weight loss for the participants was 90 pounds. Since the majority of the participants were over 300 pounds at the start of the study, only a small percentage of them were able to reach a normal weight (five percent). The average weight at the start of the study was around 330.

Despite the gains, the researchers also found some health consequences. More than 50 percent of the participants had low iron levels and a few of them had vitamin deficiencies. 13 percent of them had to undergo more surgeries. The majority of the additional operations were related to the gallstones. The researchers added that there was one death that was not related to surgery.

One of the participants, Miranda Taylor, who is currently a nursing student, talked about her experience. Taylor had obesity surgery when she was 16-years-old. At the time, she weighed 265 pounds.

"I feel awesome," she said reported by the New York Daily News. "It's like a new life."

Taylor stated that not only did she lose weight, she also experienced fewer depressive symptoms. On top of that, she did not have prediabetes and a hormonal condition that was linked to obesity.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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