Teen weight loss surgery trebles in three years

There is further evidence of Britain's obesity epidemic today as figures reveal the number of teenagers opting for weight loss surgery has more than trebled in the last three years.

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Children as young as 14 are having surgery such as gastric bands or stomach stapling on the NHS despite concerns over the 'quick-fix' nature of the procedure.

A total of 34 overweight teens underwent weight loss surgery on the NHS last year (at a cost of £7,000 per time), compared to just 10 in 2007, while 210 under-25s also opted for surgery to lose the weight.

NHS guidelines advise that gastric band surgery, where the stomach is restricted making the patient feel fuller, quicker, should only be used in 'exceptional circumstances' in obese youngsters.

But eating disorder charities have warned that surgery fails to tackle the underlying emotional problems that may have caused over-eating in the first instance.

Mary George, spokesperson for eating disorder charity Beat, told the Daily Mail: "Gastric bands should really be a last resort.

"We are concerned that people under 25 are not getting the support they should have before and after having surgery.

"More psychological support is needed to help young adults deal with the issues around their eating problems."

Previous studies have shown that a fifth of gastric band patients end up putting the weight back on within two years.

What do you think - would you be willing to let your child have bariatric surgery? Leave a comment below...