Obese Teens at Risk for Nutrient Deficiencies

Cincinnati, OH—A recent study has found severely obese teens are at risk of nutritional deficiencies.

The study compares the nutritional status of obese teens who had weight-loss surgery and those who did not. Both had low iron, mild anemia, and low vitamin D, and those who did not have surgery also had low levels of protein in their blood.

Researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center conducted the study on 79 obese teens who received gastric bypass surgery or didn’t receive surgery but were evaluated. The patients were studied between 2001 and 2007 and then contacted to continue the study in 2011 through 2014.

Eight years later, on average, the patients that had the surgery experienced significant weight loss; while those that did not have surgery did not lose any weight.

Before the study was done, bariatric surgery was thought to be the main cause of nutrient deficiencies in such patients. Stavra Xanthakos, M.D., medical director of the Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, along with a co-author of the study, state: “What this shows us in that nutritional deficiencies occur even in teens that don’t undergo surgery. Severely obese patients should be screened for nutritional deficiencies, regardless of whether they’ve undergone weight loss surgery.”

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, July 2014 (online 6/13/14)