The prevalence of obesity in adolescents has dramatically increased over the past 3 decades in the United States. Weight loss surgery is becoming a viable treatment option for obese adolescents. The number of surgeries being performed yearly is rising, and this trend is likely to continue. Adolescent patients present a unique challenge to clinicians. There are currently best-practice recommendations and evidence-based nutrition guidelines for the treatment of the adolescent bariatric patient. A review of the current literature was performed to discuss bariatric surgery and nutrition for the adolescent patient. Studies show that most adolescents with obesity will become obese adults, thus increasing their risk of developing serious and debilitating health conditions. It is recommended that the candidates for surgery be referred to a practice that has a multidisciplinary team experienced in meeting the distinct physical and psychological needs of adolescents. Specific nutrition concerns for the adolescent bariatric patient include preoperative educational pathway, postoperative dietary progression, female reproduction, compliance with vitamin/supplementation recommendations, laboratory tests, and long-term monitoring. The medical literature has reported positive outcomes of bariatric surgery in adolescents with severe obesity. Before surgery is offered as an option, unique factors to adolescents must be addressed. The multidisciplinary clinical team must consider the adolescents' cognitive, social, and emotional development when considering their candidacy for surgery. As the number of adolescent bariatric surgery programs increases, continued research and long-term outcome data need to be collected and shared to base future treatment decisions.
Keywords: adolescent; bariatric surgery; nutrition assessment; weight loss.
© 2014 American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.