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Mon, 16 Apr 2007 15:38:40 -0400
From:    "NIH OLIB (NIH/OD)" <olib@OD.NIH.GOV>
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) today launched an observational
study to evaluate the benefits and risks of bariatric surgery in
adolescents. Bariatric surgery restricts stomach size and can decrease
the amount of calories and nutrients the body absorbs.  The Teen
Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS) study will help to
determine if it is an appropriate treatment option for extremely
overweight teens.
 "The reasons for weight gain are complex and multifactorial, influenced
by genetics, environment, eating and physical activity habits, and
society.  The information gathered from Teen-LABS will help determine if 
adolescence is the best time to intervene with this surgical therapy," says 
Thomas Inge, M.D., Ph.D., chair, Teen-LABS.
Overweight youth are more likely to develop serious health problems,
such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  Ideally, the goal for
overweight adolescents and teens is to slow the rate of weight gain by
eating fewer calories and being more physically active.  However, these
changes are tough to achieve and other approaches, such as drug therapy,are 
only approved for use in children 16 years and older.  
"We know that bariatric surgery is not an easy way out for teens to
control weight. They will still need to eat less food and exercise
more," says Mary Horlick, M.D., project scientist for Teen-LABS… 
"We hope to learn whether or not bariatric surgery is suitable for teens and 
if it will help them remain at a healthy weight over the long-term." 
Recent statistics show that nearly 17 percent of youth ages 6-19 years
old in the United States are considered overweight.  Youth are defined
as overweight if they have a body mass index (BMI) that is above the 95
percent for their sex and age.  BMI measures weight in relation to
height.  There is no BMI cutpoint that defines obesity for children.  
Over the next five years, researchers will enroll 200 adolescents who
are scheduled for bariatric surgery and compare their data to 200 adults who 
had bariatric surgery after being obese since their teen years. The researchers 
will collect information on the pre-operative and two year post-operative 
status of the participants, including measures of body composition, body fat, 
cardiovascular risks, sleep apnea episodes, diabetes indicators, depressive 
symptoms, quality of life, eating habits, and nutritional status.  The 
investigators will also store serum, plasma, urine and genetic samples for future studies. 
Teen-LABS is based on the adult LABS study, which examines the benefits
and risks of bariatric surgery and its impact on the health and
well-being of adults with extreme obesity.  Launched in 2003, the six
clinical centers for the adult LABS have currently enrolled over 4000
patients in a series of short-term and longer-term studies…The adult LABS study 
is expected to continue through 2008.   
The Teen-LABS study is being conducted by researchers at the following
medical centers:
   -- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center 
   -- Texas Children's Hospital, Houston 
   -- Children's Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham
   -- University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
For more information about Teen-LABS, email the central study
coordinator, Rosie Miller, RN, CCRC at <Rosemary.Miller@cchmc.org>.
For more information about the adult LABS study, visit:
For general information about weight control and physical activity in
children and teens, see:   


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