Teens' Weight Loss Surgery May Weaken Bones

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Teens' Weight Loss Surgery May Weaken Bones

Teens who undergo gastric bypass weight loss surgery can expect to have a decline in bone mass, just as adults do, according to a new study.

Two years after the surgery, the bone mineral content of the 61 obese teens studied had declined, on average, by 7.4 percent, said Dr. Anne-Marie Kaulfers, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of South Alabama.

Though what happens beyond two years is unknown, Kaulfers said that the bone loss appears to be offset by the benefits of the surgery, such as reducing the likelihood that the teens would develop diabetes.

"At the moment, I do not think there is cause for alarm," Kaulfers said of the study findings. That's because the teens, who averaged 17 years old, still had bone mass within the normal range, she said. They had started with above-average bone mass for their age and gender.

The findings are reported online March 28 in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: U.S. News & World Report