The procedure, which involves inflating the stomach to simulate a feeling of fullness, has proven effective on adults. There have been few studies examining the effects of the gastric balloon on young people, however, and the procedure has never been carried out in the UK.
The teenagers chosen for the possible trial all weigh between 14 and 20 stone (85kg-127kg) and have failed at other weight-loss methods.
The procedure is not, according to Dr Neil Wright, consultant paediatrician and obesity specialist: “a quick fix as the lifestyle advice and support is very important in helping young people to lose weight and giving them the information they need in the future to manage a healthy lifestyle”.
If the proposal is approved by the hospital’s ethics committee, the trial would last for 2 years.
Participants would be recruited through GP referrals, hospital consultants and for those who request referrals.
Lisa Beardsmore, whose son is overweight, disagrees with the proposed gastric balloon trials. She believes children should be encouraged to eat a healthy, balanced diet and that such drastic measures are unnecessary.
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