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Childhood obesity has reached alarming levels and has established itself as a major threat to the health and welfare of millions of children and adolescents worldwide. Data from the US estimate that approximately 17% of the paediatric and adolescent populations are considered obese (ie, body mass index (BMI) ≥95th percentile) while corresponding evidence demonstrates that 4–7% of affected youth are considered severely obese (ie, BMI ≥120% of the 95th percentile).1 An increasing number of reports citing the association between childhood obesity and obesity-related comorbid conditions (ie, hypertension, obstructive sleep apnoea, liver disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus, etc), in combination with data showing a high propensity of severely obese children becoming severely obese adults (BMI ≥40 kg/m2), has led to an increase in the use of bariatric surgery among adolescents.2 While current national data (2009) suggests that 2.4 per 100 000 adolescents undergo bariatric surgery annually in the USA, representing an increase in procedural prevalence from 2000 yet unchanged when compared with data from 2006, it is widely agreed that the accuracy of the current estimated national experience is uncertain.2 One explanation for the inability to obtain an accurate picture may be related to the lack of a centralised system of data collection and reporting in this country, and may result in the inability to capture all adolescent bariatric cases being performed.
Despite increasing evidence supporting the use of adolescent bariatric surgery,1 a general consensus related to …
Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.
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