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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


20% of India's population is in the group called adolescents.
The vast majority of this group who live in villages suffer from stunted growth and malnutrition. However, an astonishing change in the health profile of these growing children is noticed in the cities. It has been estimated by the WHO that around 7% of our children are obese. In cities, it has been estimated that 30% of school children are overweight or obese.
One in fifteen kids are obese.
These children are at a high risk of suffering from a host of adult-type diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, etc.
It is also known that 70-80% of fat adolescents become obese adults.
In order to ensure the future of the health of the nation, it is imperative to recognize that obesity is one of the most important diseases in India, as it is so recognized in the developed world. The incidence of childhood obesity is tripling, as per international statistics.
While the best way (as per the WHO) of addressing this issue is by preventive measures including addressing the issue of carbonated beverages, school nutrition, television time, and physical activities, it is also true that a large number of these boys and girls are already beyond prevention. These obese kids need help in order that they get back to the school playground and have the psychological competence and confidence to be with their peers on an equal footing.
For morbidly obese children and adolescents, bariatric surgery has an important role to play, as is being increasingly recognized by the medical profession.
Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, which inaugurated its Bariatric Surgery Department in June 2006, announced the first procedure for adolescent or childhood obesity in Eastern India: a laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy. The two hour long procedure, done by a team of specialists led by Dr. B. Ramana, was followed by a painless and rapid recovery. The patient was a super-obese young boy of 20 years.
In this procedure, around 80% of the stomach is removed along its long axis, leading to a low-capacity stomach shaped like a hockey stick.
This operation was performed by using the most sophisticated technology available in the world, including staplers and the new staple-line buttress materials.

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