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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Could Honey Boo-Boo Benefit from Bariatric Surgery?

bariatric surgery concept: person with scissors about to cut the fat

There's no denying that Alana Thompson, better known as "Honey Boo-Boo" is obese. One could simply draw that conclusion by looking at her pudgy cheeks and ever-expanding waistline. Thompson and her mother have been pretty open on their now-defunct reality series, Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo, about her unhealthy eating habits, which have certainly helped to contribute to her obesity. While it is easy to be entertained by her grotesque eating habits (especially considering how they have been televised for years), we should not dismiss the fact that this is a child who has a serious medical issue that, if not treated properly, could cause a host of other medical issues and could result in an untimely death for Thompson.

Childhood obesity is no laughing manner. It is also sadly become more and more common these days. It is estimated that as many as 1 in 3 of all American children are considered overweight or obese. The number of obese children in America rings it at a whopping 17%. As if this statistic isn't alarming enough, this number is three times the amount it was just one generation ago. Obesity is defined as any individual that has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above. Body Mass Index is a number that is calculated based on a person's weight respective to their height. A healthy person's BMI can fall anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, while 25-29.9 are considered overweight. Honey Boo-Boo is 4' 6" and weighs 125 pounds, putting her at a BMI of 30.1, making her officially obese.

Recently, Honey Boo-Boo made an appearance with her mother, Mama June, on The Doctors. On the show, doctors discussed Honey Boo-Boo's health with her mother. They explained how her weight was contributing to her already problematic asthma and could put her at risk for a number of other health complications – especially as she grows older. In order to help combat her weight problem, the show sent a nutritionist to her home to help her learn new healthy eating habits, along with a chef to teach her and her mother to cook healthier meals. But is this enough to solve her health problems on a long-term basis?

Eating healthy and exercising regularly are certainly great starts and a necessity for weight loss and fitness. However, in some cases these aren't enough to make a lasting impact. It is evident that Honey Boo-Boo has struggled with her weight for many years. This could indicate that her weight issues stem from larger problems that go beyond her unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise. Although she is currently too young to consider weight-loss surgery at the moment (it is recommended that children wait until they are at least 13 to ensure that their bodies are finished growing), it may be something for her to consider in the future.

Weight loss surgery, such as bariatric surgery in Oklahoma City has been proven to be beneficial for both adults and children alike who have struggled with weight-related issues. What makes this different from simply eating healthy and exercising is that bariatric surgery comes in various forms, including gastric bands, gastric bypass, and lap band surgery. Depending on which form you choose, the surgery could involve reducing the size of the stomach, re-routing the small intestine and stomach pouch, and more. Patients who undergo these surgeries report drastic weight-loss, smaller appetites, and an overall improvement in both their health and quality of life.


Once Honey Boo-Boo enters her teens and finishes growing, if she is still struggling to control her weight, she and her mother should certainly look into bariatric weight loss surgery. This surgery would offer a long-term weight loss plan that could help reduce her mortality rate by up to 15% and improve her overall quality of life. While it may seem dangerous to perform such a life-changing surgery on someone so young, this surgery is actually very safe, and has few to no risks associated with it. 

In fact, bariatric bypass surgery has already been performed on many children, and the number is expected to increase. India has already performed as many as 18,000 surgeries on children in the past year. Saudi Arabia may take the cake for performing the surgery on the youngest patient: a five year old child. In the United States, 12 is usually the youngest age at which the surgery is performed. There were an estimated 800 surgeries performed on children in the past year, but the number is expected to rise. More and more children have come in with their parents for consultations and queries regarding the procedures. Bariatric weight loss surgery is safe for both adults and children alike, and it may even hold the key to combating childhood obesity once and for all.

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