Thursday, January 19, 2012

Food for Thought: Weight Loss Surgery for Adolescents & The Apple Pushers

It's time to break it down. Recently, I've come across so many interesting food, nutrition, and health-themed articles and videos. I thought I'd share and hopefully, facilitate an open forum for discussion. Feel free to leave a comment.

Young, Obese and In Surgery

This article, which appeared in the NY Times, broke my heart. It explores the "explosion" of weight-loss surgery in America. According to this article, there are over 220,000 types of these operations a year, netting out to an over 6 billion dollar a year industry. This article follows one young girl, a teenager, only 17, who gets a Lap-Band operation, which is performed laparoscopically, and is apparently considered low risk and reversible. This Lap-Band, produced by Allergen, is wrapped around the neck of the stomach, resulting in the constriction of the stomach. Consequently, once the band is in place, one must adjust their diet accordingly: much, much, smaller portions and healthier, less caloric foods, to break it down very simply.

What is interesting is that now, this type of surgery is being marketed to young adults. Rather, teenagers who are obese. Shockingly, at least to me, there are currently being studies done on these types of weight-loss surgeries on children as young as 12. TWELVE. Obesity has widespread physical and emotional implications, and I can only imagine how trying it would be to be obese as a teenager. I mean, middle school is bad enough. Teenage years can be emotionally draining. While I firmly believe that what we eat really sets the tone for, well, nearly everything in our life, from how we feel to how we relate to people (food is a universal unifier...right?), it's frustrating that so many people don't have access to "the good" foods or are uneducated about nutrition. Even those who do have access to good food and can afford to eat well, can freely choose not to.

And that's the thing. No one should have to "afford to eat well." It's messed up. If this surgery were to be approved for children as young as 12, how is that 12 year old really supposed to know how to eat appropriately to maintain comfort with the Lap-Band in place? If you overeat just a bit, be prepared for an awful stomach ache, if not something worse. Where do the parents come in, if they were there in the first place allowing the child to eat poorly?

So, with that being said, when I saw this trailer I was instantly intrigued. Screenings for The Apple Pushers have been going on for a while, though I don't believe it's been shown in San Francisco, yet. I am keeping my eye out for this film. What an interesting and inspiring project!

The Apple Pushers (trailer)

And I leave you with that.

1 comment

  1. I temped to chose weight loss surgery to whom change their appearance. My two friends had lost huge weight and got slim body by weight loss surgery like Liposuction, bariatric surgery, bypass surgery etc.