Laffel stressed that prevention and lifestyle choices should properly remain the first line of treatment when it comes to teen obesity.
"You want maintaining a healthy weight to become an effort for life," Laffel said, noting that kids who undergo bariatric surgery might not understand the amount of healthy eating and exercise that will be needed to keep off the weight they shed.
At the same time, there's no denying that weight-loss surgery can help kids who are otherwise doomed to a lifetime of obesity and chronic illness, she said.
"There's no question this gives you a remarkable jump-start," Laffel said. "As the procedures get simple and safer, I think this will be more often considered."
The Nemours Foundation offers more on weight-loss surgery for teens.
SOURCES: Thomas Inge, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, surgery and pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and director, Center for Bariatric Research and Innovation, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati; Lori Laffel, M.D., M.P.H., chief, pediatric, adolescent and young adult section and investigator, genetics and epidemiology section, Joslin Diabetes Center, and associate professor, pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston
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