doctors in Yorkshire have revealed six severely obese children each shed more than eight stone in weight after major surgery.
The youngsters - four boys and two girls all aged around 15 - underwent operations at Sheffield Children’s Hospital for conditions which left them struggling with serious complications among them high blood pressure, sleep disorders, limited mobility and psychological problems.
Experts say the operations could offer a way forward for dangerously obese youngsters after each had failed to lose weight using traditional approaches.
Three of the children said their lives had been “transformed” by the operations as they each lost on average 8.5 stone (54kg), according to a study in the Archives of Diseases in Childhood.
About 30 per cent of children in England aged between two and 15 are overweight, with a smaller number obese. Most obese children will become obese adults, facing a reduced life expectancy of between five and 20 years.
Neil Wright, consultant paediatric endocrinologist at the hospital, said: “A very small proportion of young people are severely obese. This puts them at greater risk of obesity-related health problems including significant psychosocial problems like poor self-esteem, depression and poor school attendance.
“There is an understandable reluctance to consider bariatric surgery in young people. It should only be considered in exceptional circumstances where young people are already suffering health and psychological problems as a result of their weight.
“Lifestyle changes remain the treatment of choice. However, for those at the extreme end of the spectrum, non-surgical approaches offer limited value and surgery may be appropriate.”