More weight-loss surgery is needed to help the growing population of obese teenagers, a Christchurch surgeon says.
Dr Richard Flint said gastric band surgery, which radically reduces the size of the stomach, was the best available option for weight loss but remained largely unavailable.
District health boards (DHBs) lacked space, paediatricians, dieticians and funding but misguided prejudice also played a role, he said.
Obesity was a significant and growing problem among New Zealand’s youth with 21 per cent of 15-24 year olds obese, according to the latest available Ministry of Health national health survey.
“I think, if there was a programme up and running, you could probably operate for as many hours as the day would give you to be honest,” Flint said.
I think gastric band surgery is a very sensible option for some adults, when other measures have failed.
But I think for teenagers, it is inadvisable. It should be the last resort, not the first resort.