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New Approach to Teen Obesity

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July 1, 2007 - A local hospital has joined a nationwide study aimed at helping obese teenagers.

With childhood obesity such a major problem, serious tactics usually used for adults are getting a close look. At the duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, the LapBand is now being tested for obese teens.

The LapBand is an alternative to gastric bypass, or stomach stapling. It's surgically slipped around the stomach, and then the band is inflated with saline solution.

"It restricts the amount of food in the stomach, with a pouch about the size of an egg. The stomach is about the size of a football right now, and we try to reduce it," explained Dr. Kirk Reichard.

Unlike gastric bypass, it doesn't change the absorption of nutrients from food and it can be deflated in case the person later needs to gain weight due to pregnancy or a medical condition.

"For reasons we don't understand, a patient's hunger really goes away. Their desire to eat goes away when the band is properly adjusted," he said.

Doctors say they are looking for severely obese teens, suffering the effects of excess weight, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

"The adolescents we're talking about have 100 to 150 pounds to lose," said Dr. George Datto.

The duPont team is not only working with the teens, but also their families to boost the chance of long-term success.

Their method of adjusting eating habits is geared specifically to teens.

"Instead of telling them what to do, we have them sort of figuring it out on their own," said nutritionist Mitchell Fullmer.

DuPont is one of four hospitals nationwide studying the LapBand. Doctors are very hopeful. A recent study showed teens develop half the complications that adults do from weight loss surgery.

(Copyright 2007 by Action News and 6abc. All Rights Reserved.)

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This article was in our local paper this week about a 12 year old (now 14) banded by Dr. Kuri.

Lap Band Surgery Helps Bremerton Girl Be 'The Kid I Want To Be'

By Andrew Binion, andrew.binion@kitsapsun.com

Monday, July 2, 2007


Seventh grade can be hard on a kid.

There's battles with self-confidence, puberty, popularity, acne, growth spurts, sexual awareness, drugs, drinking, grades. The list of horrors goes on.

When Marsha Siperek of Bremerton thought about her 12-year-old daughter, Hannah, she knew that beside all the usual teen angst, Hannah would have a strike against her because she was morbidly obese.

"Before it was people staring at her, openly staring at her," said Marsha, who was also severely obese. "I was an adult, but they did it to her.

At 12, on the verge of the cruelest year of adolescence, Hannah stood 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed about 290 pounds. She could eat and eat and never feel full. She showed early signs of Type 2 diabetes. She loved soccer but couldn't force her overburdened frame to run the field.

"She was always hungry, and she kept getting bigger and bigger," said Marsha, who like Hannah, didn't get the full, satisfied feeling that tells a person to stop eating.

Less than two years ago, Hannah was a morbidly obsese 290 pounds. Today, she packs just 150 pounds on her 5-feet, 5-inch frame and plays soccer

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