Exceptionally overweight children are to be offered obesity surgery on the NHS following new guidance from the government's health watchdog.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has advised that the operations should be considered for severely overweight young people who have gone through puberty and are at risk of developing life-threatening obesity-related diseases.
Professor John Wilding, professor of medicine at Liverpool University's Aintree hospital, said that some of the treatment options being recommended would be seen as "highly controversial".
"But it is right that the NHS is given the go-ahead to take radical action when faced with such a major threat to the health of our children," he added.
According to Nice, gastric banding, stomach stapling and gastric bypass operations should only be offered to young people "in exceptional circumstances", and the same guidance was given for the provision of weight-loss drugs to children under the age of 12.
The institute also advised that young patients should only receive obesity surgery if all other methods of weight loss had been tried without success for at least six months.
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Obesity treatment news : 13/12/2006