New UK obesity centre offers surgery to teens

London hospital says treatment is necessary to fight epidemic among children

A London hospital has set up the United Kingdom's first specialist centre offering extreme weight loss surgery for children and teenagers.

Childhood obesity rates are rising fast in the UK, with latest statistics showing that a third of children aged 10-11 in England suffer from obesity or weight issues.

In Southwark, the south London borough where Britain's first paediatric bariatric (weight-loss) surgery service is located, 40 per cent of secondary school children are classed as obese or overweight.

Ashish Desai, the surgeon who decided to set up the new centre at King's College Hospital to cater for 13- to 18-year-olds, said it was in response to what is becoming an epidemic. So far he has performed drastic weight loss procedures, mostly gastric band operations, on four teenagers.

Increasing numbers of young people in the United Kingdom are having bariatric surgery procedures that are normally carried out on adults. The National Obesity Forum estimates that up to 30 youngsters a year are travelling abroad with their parents for such treatment.

Such is the demand that hospitals in Sheffield, Leeds, Nottingham, Oxford, Cardiff and Newcastle are believed to be planning paediatric bariatric centres.

The youngest patient Mr Desai has operated on was a 13-year-old boy suffering from bone problems related to his obesity that meant he had to use a wheelchair.

According to the Indian-born physician, two of the other operations he performed are already proving to be successful.

"Two of the patients who have had long-term follow-ups of two to six months say they are extremely pleased with the results," he said. "They say that their attitude to food has changed completely. And now rather than going for the chips and fried food they go towards the salad."

Mr Desai said surgery can provide a lasting solution for a wide range of obesity-related problems including diabetes, sleep apnoea and bone or liver disorders.

If patients maintain a good diet and exercise regime after having the procedure, they can typically expect to lose between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of their excess body weight.

One of Mr Desai's patients, Jayne (not her real name), had gastric band surgery in February, having an elastic band across the top end of her stomach to restrict the amount of food she can eat before feeling full. At the time of the operation she was 17, weighed 23 stone and had a body mass index (BMI) of 45.

She said: "There are things in my life that mounted up and I used food as my comfort. I tried loads of diets but my weight was a brick wall." In the two months after the operation she lost five stone and dropped four dress sizes.

But Mr Desai warned that weight-loss surgery is by no means a quick-fix solution to shifting the pounds – it is the last resort. He emphasised that any young people who attend his service go through an intensive six-month treatment programme with a dietician, a paediatrician and a psychologist.

After this time patients must still meet strict criteria even to be considered for the surgery, including having a BMI of at least 40 and having reached full puberty. They must further possess the "mental maturity" to understand the implications of the operation. "They should understand this surgery is drastic and will require lifelong commitment and changes in diet and lifestyle," Mr Desai said.

Another important factor is the aftercare the young people receive, with patients attending between 10 and 12 follow-up appointments annually.

However, Mr Desai added: "The main goal that the community and the Government need to work together to achieve is to stop this problem through prevention."

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

    £40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

    Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

    £22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

    Design Technology Teacher

    £22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

    Foundation Teacher

    £100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes