A new study shows that gastric bypass surgery for weight loss is working just as well in adolescents as it does for adults, if not better.
Dr. Thomas Inge, chief of pediatric surgery at Children's Hospital (Aurora) Colorado who led the study, says teens are able to reverse the health conditions that are associated with obesity, such as Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure, much more efficiently.
The results show early intervention can lead to better long-term results, he said. But it's not for everyone — about 8 percent of American teenagers would qualify.
"It's not just 30 pounds overweight, it's more — more like 75 to 100 pounds overweight, with an identifiable complication of the obesity," Inge said.
Some doctors are hesitant to try the procedure and are concerned about the surgical risk, he said. They want to make sure the teens get enough nutrients with the new restrictive diet.
Inge said he hopes the research will lead to more access for teenagers who want to explore the option. He posted a video about it that has had more than 8.5 million views.
Sixteen-year-old Dustin Vogelbacher says he is glad he had the surgery. His mom, Stacey Force, was against it at first.
"It worried me a little bit because it's such a lifetime change that at 16, 17, life is so different than it's going to be you know in your 20s in your 30s," she said.
Eventually the family supported it. Vogelbacher says he wants to inspire others: He posted a video about it that has had more than 8.5 million views.
"It was the best decision of my life," Vogelbacher said.
"Stay positive and love your life because you only got one. So it's live life to the fullest," he said.