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12:48 PM

KCTV 5: Leading group of pediatricians say more obese kids should get weight loss surgery

By Betsy Webster and Maggie Holmes

Kids at Lenexa’s Pinnacle Gymnastics are staying active. When KCTV5 News told their parents about obese kids getting surgery to lose weight, some said no way.

“Personally, my own opinion, I wouldn’t agree with it because they’re still developing at that age,” Jesse Franchuk, parent, said.

Others said, it depends.

A lot of people think eating better and exercising more should be enough, but the position paper published Sunday says otherwise. Experts say, sure, some kids just need to grow into their bodies, but we’re talking severely obese.

“Once you get to a certain weight it’s really hard to make those big global changes within your body, from a lifestyle modification perspective, but also from a neuro-hormonal kind of perspective as well,” Dr. Jason Fraser, a Children’s Mercy Hospital Surgeon, said.

Children’s Mercy has a program geared specifically to pediatric weight loss.

But now Children’s Mercy also has a bariatric surgery program for kids headed by Dr. Fraser, who has done 25 such surgeries so far, mostly on teens, but one on a pre-teen.

“It’s relatively rare in the city as well as in the region to have a center that does bariatric surgery in adolescence,” Dr. Fraser said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is for “severely obese.” The group says primary care doctors aren’t referring enough and insurance isn’t covering enough.

Like with adults, though, lifestyle changes must come with surgery, or you’re back to square one which is why the Children’s Mercy program includes a long-term plan with not just doctors but psychologists, nutritionists and so on.


Read the full story via KCTV 5

Learn more about the Bariatric Surgery Program at Children's Mercy