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Banding superior in study of obese teens

Wed., Feb. 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES – Gastric-banding surgery appears to be significantly more effective than lifestyle interventions in helping severely obese teenagers lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off, a new study suggests.

In the U.S., the banding procedure is currently available to adolescents only through research studies. It involves placing an adjustable device on the upper part of the stomach and creating a pouch that allows only small amounts of food, creating feelings of fullness sooner.

The new, randomized study, reported online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 50 Australian teens age 14 to 18 with a body mass index of more than 35 (considered severely obese). Half received the surgery; the other half took part in a lifestyle intervention that included individualized diet plans, exercise sessions with a personal trainer, and follow-ups with health care providers. Both groups were tracked for two years.

All the teens lost weight, but those who had surgery came out ahead. They lost about 79 percent of their excess weight, compared to about 13 percent in the lifestyle group.

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