Fat Surgery for Teen Girls May Raise Birth Defect Risks Later
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 Oct 04
Teenage girls who've undergone obesity surgery may not absorb enough of a vitamin needed to have healthy babies, raising the risk of bearing children with spine and brain birth defects, a study suggests.
While more adolescents are having gastric bypass surgery, little is known about long-term consequences of the procedure, said Diana Farmer, who presented the study today at the American Association of Pediatrics meeting in San Francisco. "The possibility of future birth defects may outweigh the benefit of this bariatric procedure" for adolescent girls, said Farmer, chief of pediatric surgery at Benioff Children's Hospital at the University of California, San Francisco.
"I am not saying the procedure should be ruled out or that obesity is not a problem," Farmer said in a telephone interview Oct. 1. "But no kids are dropping dead at the age of 18 from obesity."
Farmer's report highlights a consequence of gastric bypass surgery that leads to insufficient absorption of Vitamin B9, or folic acid, which occurs in the upper intestine. Folate, or folic acid, is a key element in the prevention of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. Patients who undergo the procedure are placed on vitamin supplements to counteract the reduction. Limited research shows adherence to the supplements by teens is 14 percent, according to Farmer's presentation.