Risks of bariatric surgery lessened by new guidelines

Originally published 16 March 2015 on Nature Middle East.

Saudi research highlights safer option for weight reduction procedures among children. 

A defined clinical pathway that leads to fewer complications and does not result in stunted growth for children who need bariatric surgery, has been developed by Saudi researchers.A 2013 survey showed 23% of Saudi school children are overweight with 9% classified as obese. Among pre-school children, about 15% are overweight and 6% obese. The Saudi Journal of Obesity reported that local studies show a rising trend of obesity.Bariatric surgery is usually considered when a child is not responding to alternative weight management programs.Now researchers from King Saud University (KSU) in Saudi Arabia are proposing a standardised weight management (WM) protocol that includes bariatric surgery within a clinical pathway for optimum results.

“We have strict criteria to offer bariatric surgery to children and adolescents regardless of their age, which include Body Mass Index (BMI) of 35 with obesity related co-morbidities, or BMI of 40,” researcher Aayed Alqahtani from KSU, tells Nature Middle East. “For younger children BMI is not very accurate and we substitute it with what is called BMI percentile in which we require the patient to be more than 99th – or super obese – to be eligible for surgery even if their absolute BMI is less than 35,” he adds.

Read more at

Nature Middle East, March 2015.

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