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100,000 teens are so obese they need weight-loss surgery

Almost 100,000 British teenagers are now so obese their weight problem cannot be reversed without surgery, experts have warned.

Researchers found 2.4 per cent of 13 to 18-year-olds are ‘super obese’ – and argue they should be given free weight-loss surgery on the NHS.

If all 90,500 who meet the criteria for bariatric surgery – which costs around £6,000 – went under the knife, it could cost the taxpayers £543million.

Study leader Professor Russell Viner, of University College London, said that denying adolescents surgical intervention could cost the health service more in the long-term. 

Being obese puts you at a higher risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. 

If all ‘super obese’ teenagers had surgery it would cost the NHS £543million (stock photo)

Professor Viner told The Sun: ‘We know once young people are super-obese it is extremely difficult for them to lose weight any other way than by surgery. The body resets its fat-sensing system and actively fights them trying to lose weight.’


The number of obese children in the US has more than tripled since the 1970s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Today, about one in five school-aged children (ages 6 to 19) falls into the ‘obese’ category. 

And one quarter of Australia’s teenagers are overweight or obese, a report by the Cancer Council and National Heart Foundation revealed.

According to the World Health Organization, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century.  

The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2015 the number of overweight children under the age of five, was estimated to be over 42 million.

The problem is increased at an alarming rate and affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.

Almost half of all overweight children under five lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa.

Health charities have warned that government policy to tackle the obesity crisis, and its burden on the NHS, is failing. 

Diabetes costs the NHS almost £9billion a year and one in six hospital beds at any one time are occupied by someone with the condition.  

NICE guidelines 

A quarter of the UK population is now obese, fuelling a rise in cases of type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, fatty liver disease and cancer, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

One in 20 people in the UK has type 2 diabetes, a progressive disease that can cause heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and limb amputations.

Every year, 24,000 people die prematurely because of the condition. Every week, the NHS carries out 100 amputations caused by type 2 diabetes. 

NICE recommends that all patients with a BMI of 35 or over who have recent-onset type 2 diabetes should be assessed for surgery. 

Patients must have tried and failed to achieve clinically beneficial weight loss by all other appropriate non-surgical methods and be fit for surgery.

Guidelines also states that weight loss surgery is also beneficial for people with a BMI of 30-34.9 who have recent-onset type 2 diabetes that is very poorly controlled.

He said: ‘The financial implications of obesity are huge – 10 per cent of the NHS budget is used to treat diabetes and its complications alone. It is a major issue, if not the major issue, for the health service in the coming years.’ 

£435 per patient cookery classes

The news comes it was revealed earlier this month that obese people at risk of diabetes will be sent on cookery and exercise classes.

More than two million people are expected to get the controversial referrals, which will cost the taxpayer billions of pounds at £435 per patient. 

The initiative follows guidance from the National Institute of Care Excellence, who want everyone over 40 to be screened and monitored for the illness. 

And a recent study from the University of Birmingham found that people who are ‘fat but fit’ are still more likely to develop fatal diseases including heart failure, coronary heart disease and cerebrovascular disease, which causes strokes. 


Parents could be shown pictures of their overweight children as fat adults to shock them into tackling obesity.

Newcastle University experts developed software that shows what will happen if youngsters continue to pile on the pounds.

The programme, which is backed by the Department of Health and could be rolled out across the NHS, has already been shown to reduce a child’s weight gain.

The results, presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Portugal, showed overweight children whose parents were shown the images put on 9lb (4kg) less weight on average in the following year.