Obese Teens at Risk for Nutritional Deficiencies

Patient Expert

A new study from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center suggests that obese teens may have nutritional deficiencies usually found in post-bariatric surgery patients, even if they have not had weight loss surgery.

Obesity is among the most serious health concerns of our current society. It takes a toll on physical, psychological, and social well-being, and effects about 35 percent of the adult population. In total, 68 percent of adults are overweight or obese.

But among the most useful tools to combat obesity, and its co-morbid conditions is bariatric surgery. It is not a free pass however, and comes with responsibility of continued diet and exercise. In addition, bariatric surgery may lead to post-surgery vitamin deficiencies. It is not unusual to experience such deficiencies since the gastric bypass excludes a portion of the small intestine where a number of nutrients are absorbed.

Vitamin Deficiencies Go Both WaysA recent ** study** conducted at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center reported that although teens and young adults who had gastric bypass surgery maintained impressive weight loss five years after the procedure, they were at risk of nutritional deficiencies. The study found that the subjects had particular deficiencies in iron and vitamin D, which are usual deficiencies following gastric bypass surgery.

Data garnered from the study also showed obese teens who did not undergo gastric bypass surgery had low iron and low vitamin D, as well as low levels of protein in their blood. It had been believed, prior to the study, that nutritional deficiencies in previously obese teens had been the result of the weight-loss surgery. The study now suggests that severely obese teens could suffer nutritional deficiencies could happen at any point, and they should be screened whether or not they have had weight loss surgery.

Recognizing Iron and Vitamin D Deficiencies** Iron deficiency** is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States, and can lead to anemia. Women are among those who are at greatest risk. Iron is important for the production of hemoglobin, the protein that helps red blood cells deliver protein throughout the body.

Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, dizziness, and cravings for non-food items such as dirt, ice, and clay.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone meant to be obtained primarily from the sun and not through diet. It is important for bone health and may help in protecting against colds and fighting depression.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include depressed mood, aching bones, head sweating, and troubles in your gut. If you are 50 years old or older, you are at risk for vitamin D deficiency because your skin does not make as much vitamin D in response to sun exposure.

Living larger than ever,** My Bariatric Lifisit me on  MyBariatricLife.org,** ** Flickr**,  Vimeo,  Twitter,  YouTube,** ** StumbleUpon**,  Google+   iew my  **Borne  Appétit  recipe collection on Pinterest             ** References:    **** Food Research and Action Center  **

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