26 May 2011

Obese teens new target for Lap-Band surgery

If there were ever an example for the need of documentaries like Forks Over Knives this is it. As originally reported in the LA Times, Lap-Band manufacturer Allergan is seeking FDA approval for Lap-Band surgeries on kids as young as 14. The surgery involves placing a ring around the stomach to reduce food intake. Clinical trials are already being done on teenagers, as the procedure is allowed with parental consent. FDA approval would mean that Allergan would be allowed to market directly to youngsters of just 14 years of age. Allergan is looking to capitalize on the over 16 million obese teens between the ages 14 and 17.

I really hope the FDA does not approve this. There doesn't need to be "get thin quick" with surgery commercials during Glee. Though the FDA's track record of supporting corporations over the people does not inspire confidence. My biggest problem with the Lap-Bad is simple, it does not promote a healthy lifestyle. It's a band-aid on a gusher of a problem. Although someone might lose some weight with the procedure, if they don't change the crap they are eating and continue having a sedentary lifestyle, they will continue to have health problems.

What boggles my mind is that people are willing to pay 20 grand, get sliced into and be implanted with a band that will be in them for the rest of their life, but going vegan is thought of as extreme. Allergan doctors claim the surgery is needed for the people in which diet alone hasn't worked. They are probably right considering that most people try insane flavor of the week infomercial diets. If your kid is obese, they do not just need a diet change, they need a lifestyle change. So along with a balanced diet, hopefully a plant based one, unplug the TV, give the kid a bike and a ball and tell 'em to come home when it starts to get dark.

Generally when people want to hurt themselves I'm okay with it. If you wanna be obese, be obese, but do it without hurting animals by chowing down on vegan cupcakes instead. That's how I feel for adults, but when it is a child I believe the parents have a responsibility to keep the kid healthy. Restricting a kids food to the point of emaciation should be abuse, and when your kid gets to be 100 pounds overweight it should also be seen as abuse. Approving this surgery for kids and marketing it to them will just make them think that it is okay to be obese because they can just get a quick fix.

The solution to the obesity problem in kids is not surgery. There needs to be a change in the American culture. We need to move away from paying our hard earned money to big business for food that is killing us and move toward a whole food plant based diet. Mix in some dodgeball for cardio and were good.

Peter Godoy | @petergodoy
Peter lives in San Diego with two animal companion cats, Gremlin and Mila, and has no plans to ever leave America's Finest City. He was vegetarian for a couple months until he saw the light and became a vegan. Animal rights has become his passion. Peter enjoys reading vegan blogs and cooking vegan meals. Follow Peter on Facebook.

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