A thirteen year old girl from Texas recently underwent a successful weight loss surgery. Alexis Shapiro gained national attention for several reasons - one being her age. For a weight loss surgery patient, Alexis was extremely young considering these types of surgery are rarely preformed on minors. Her severe obesity was not due to bad parenting as many have falsely assumed. She suffered from a physical brain related condition following neurosurgery causing her to experience a constant state of painful hunger.
Weight loss surgery is more about improving the quality and length of someone's life rather than a cosmetic procedure. Heart failure, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are a handful of the many associated negative health impacts of severe obesity which affect virtually every area of the body. By the age of 9, Alexis was already suffering from a number of medical conditions caused by her obesity.
Many physicians recommend bariatric surgery for a severely obese patients because achieving a more healthy weight is the only way to prevent these conditions. Please note that the causes for severe obesity aren't always a simple matter of an individual lacking discipline or care for their general well-being. In Alexis' case, removing her brain tumor and hypothalamus resulted in her experiencing hypothalamic obesity. Hypothalamic Obesity is a never-ending sensation of hunger which resulted in her gaining two pounds a week. While this specific condition is extremely rare, more common mental health conditions may be related to obesity. For example, addiction, depression, or anxiety can cause an individual to gain weight rapidly.