Like many people Jessica Doyle has tried several times over the years to eat healthy and exercise.Unlike many of us...her body was especially resistant. ": When I hit the 10th grade, it fluctuated and then started sky-rocketing.My highest weight was 320."
That's when Jessica turned to doctors for help. At 18- Jessica underwent a weight loss operation in which a small ban is placed around the stomach to create a pouch, that limits how much food a patient can eat. It's worked for years in morbidly obese adults, so doctors at Columbus Children's Hospital taking part in a study wanted to see if it might work sooner, in patients as young as 14.
Dr. Marc Michalsky from Columbus Children'ts Hospital says this is a serious health concern for some children. " By the time they are reaching their teens if nothing has changed in terms of their weight and their weight-growth curve, they have an overwhelming chance of carrying that weight into their adult years."
And with the weight comes even bigger problems like heart disease, diabetes, even cancer. So this study will see if intervening with srugery early can help patients avoid those problems later.
Michalasky says this is a serious and desperate step and is in no way intended to just make anyone look better.
"Absolutely not. This is not cosmetic surgery. IN fact, if you were to liken it to a title this is better thought of as metabolic surgery. This is surgery to help cure disease."
Diseases like Diabetes. Jessica lost her father to the disease and was facing the same threat. She is now 40-pounds lighter. The F-D-A has hesitated to approve the gastric band for children, but a study out of New York University published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows the device holds promise. More than half of the 53-boys and girls ages 14-to-17 lost nearly half of their excess weight with relatively minor complications.
Although not part of any study, Western Bariatric Institute has performed lap band surgery on a hanful of children locally. But unlike adults the institute says children must undergo more rigorous screening psychologically and nutritionally. Parents must also be heavily involved in their child's case.