Earlier this week, we introduced you to 13-year-old Joey and his family who travelled to Tijuana, Mexico to have Gastric Lap Band Surgery. Today, meet Hollie Johnson, 17, who also went under the knife to lose weight.
For Hollie, weight was always an issue. She tried diet after diet, but nothing worked. Like most teenagers, Hollie just wanted to be thin. After attending a seminar about gastric banding, she decided this was something she had to do.
Dr. Santiago Horgan, director of the UCSD Center for the Treatment of Obesity, performed the surgery on Hollie and told us that his patients were mostly 100 lbs overweight, and for most of them, diet and exercise is not an option. "When a kid is 100 lbs overweight, they are depressed and lose self-esteem. They have no incentive to start a diet." Our expert, Dr. Cara Natterson weighed in, "Obesity is clearly related to issues of self-esteem for most children and teenagers who live with it. The experiences of these kids vary, but most -- if not all -- would do anything they could to overcome the issue."
Since her surgery in October of 2007, Hollie, who is 5'3" and at her heaviest weighed 246 lbs, has lost 101 lbs. While Hollie feels so lucky to have had this opportunity to be a part of the trial, unlike the Fishells, Hollie would never have done it if it meant going down to Mexico. "I wouldn't even have my teeth cleaned in Mexico."
Dr. Cara Natterson believes that surgery, especially for children, should always be the last option and says that there are ways for parents to encourage their child to lose weight. "Everyone in the family can be in on it together. This is about healthy living, not a punishment for one person. So get rid of the junk food and sodas, keep portion sizes small, and emphasize daily exercise for everyone in the house. Make sure to focus on the positive, not the number on the scale."