Weight loss surgery may improve obese teens’ mental health, a new study finds.
The research included 88 severely obese Swedish teens who had the weight-loss surgery known as gastric bypass. They were between the ages of 13 and 18. Researchers followed up with the teens for two years after the procedure.
“Most young people felt significantly better two years after surgery. On average, they felt like most other adolescents, so their mental health had been normalized,” study author Kajsa Jarvholm, a researcher and psychologist at Lund University in Sweden, said in a university news release.
“There is also a big difference in how weight affected them in various social situations. Two years after the operation, they experienced far fewer limitations than before,” she added.
“Another important discovery was that some did not feel better. Just under 20 percent of patients said they still did not feel well after having surgery, and their self-assessments showed symptoms of moderate to severe depression. 13 percent showed symptoms of severe depression,” Jarvholm said.
The study was published recently in the journal Obesity.
Continued follow-up of the patients in the study is important, Jarvholm said. She also said mental health support is needed for young people who have gastric bypass surgery, especially those whose mental health doesn’t improve even if they lose weight.
The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has more about gastric bypass surgery.