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Two boys, 14, become youngest Brits to receive gastric band surgery on NHS after ballooning to 18st


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Two boys, 14, become youngest Brits to receive gastric band surgery on NHS after ballooning to 18st



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 12:01 PM on 15th February 2010




Two morbidly obese 14-year-old boys have become the youngest people in Britain to receive £7,000 gastric band surgery on the NHS.

The boys underwent the surgery after they both ballooned to more than 18st - double the average weight of boys their age.

The surgery, in which an inflatable silicone ring is fitted around the top part of the stomach to make it smaller, is extremely rare in teenagers but the pair were deemed to be 'in serious danger.'




Two teenage boys have undergone gastric band operations after they were declared morbidly obese


To qualify the boys' health had to be endangered by either heart disease, diabetes or other disorders. According to the Daily Mirror, one of them underwent the surgery in 2006 and the other last year.

The teens each had pyschological, educational and social assessments before being given the go-ahead for the operation.


Gastric banding for obese children under 18 has been available on the NHS since 2006 but only in extremely rare cases.

The Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust told the Mirror: 'In Sheffield, we have a great deal of expertise. Any surgery of this kind is only carried out in extreme cases.'

Tam Fry, of the National Obesity Forum and Child Growth Foundation, said: 'It is a horrendous indictment on society that we should ever allow these children to get this fat.

'We have simply in this country failed, all of us collectively, society has failed to really understand the obesity-endemic environment we now live in.







'Why social services, why doctors, why nurses have not triggered alarm bells years ago, because this kind of thing does not happen overnight.'

"It is a great failing, the sooner we understand that, the better off the children of the future will be.'


Such surgery has a less than one per cent risk of fatality although up to 10 per cent of patients can suffer complications.

Guidelines from rationing watchdog NICE say only patients with a body mass index of greater than 40 - those who are 'morbidly obese' - or who have a BMI between 35 and 40 who have health problems such as health disease or type two diabetes should have the procedures.

Mr Fry said: 'It is something which is certainly not desirable but in some instances where life is threatened by the size of the child then this kind of surgery is appropriate.'

article-1251052-084CCF61000005DC-619_233x423.jpg 'Last resort': Mr Fry said there were many issues surrounding gastric band surgery for under-18s


'Clearly, if it was life-threatening then that's what the doctors thought would be necessary. It is absolutely a last resort.'

He also said it could be difficult for children to understand the changes they must make following such surgery.

'It's not just a question of an operation, it's an operation followed by years and years of careful eating, coming to terms with just controlling yourself which of course for adults is perhaps not such a difficulty,' he said.


'They will be looking at a lifestyle which is much less indulgent than they have been used to. They will have to be taking much greater care of themselves than your average child.'


The revelation comes days after new figures showed the number of 'super-obese' people having stomach-stapling surgery had jumped by more than half.


The same figures showed the number of people being admitted to hospital for being grossly obese shot up by almost 60 per cent in a year and eightfold in a decade.

The latest figures from the NHS Information Centre suggest that government efforts to tackle the problem are failing - and that the obesity time-bomb may have an even shorter fuse than thought.

They show there were 5,020 admissions in England with a primary diagnosis of obesity in 2007/08 - but this rose to 7,990 in 2008/09, a rise of 59 per cent.


Another set of figures out today showed people in the East Midlands are the fattest in the UK, with an average body mass index of 28.9.


Scotland has the next highest average BMI level of 28.4, followed by the West Midlands with 28.1, weight-loss organisation Slimming World said.


London was found to have the lowest BMI - which is based on a weight to height ratio, but can exaggerate the degree to which a person is overweight if they have a high muscle mass.


The figures showed that average BMI across the UK is in the 'overweight' category.


Healthy BMI is classed as 18.5 to 24.9, but a level measured between 25 and 29.9 means a person is regarded as overweight.

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