Morbidly Obese 2 Year Old Has Weight-Loss Surgery

    September 20, 2013
    Brian Powell
    Comments are off for this post.

In 2010, a Saudi Arabian boy became the youngest person in the world to have weight-loss surgery. At that time, the boy weighed 72.7 pounds and had a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 44.1. That would be the equivalent of the BMI of a 6 foot tall man weighing 325 pounds.

When the child was born, he weighed a normal amount. However, by 14 months of age, the boy weighed 46 pounds. At that point, doctors decided to place the child on a diet. However, during the next 4 months, the child managed to gain 17 pounds. Why, you ask?

“Although the parents were informed about the importance of a strict dietary regimen a full compliance cannot be ascertained mainly due to the different socio cultural habits and the absence of the practice of calculating the calorific value of the diet.”

Essentially, the parents were killing the kid because they couldn’t follow a diet regimen. Granted, the report states that calories are not monitored as they are in western cultures, but common sense would dictate that doctor told the parents what foods they should have been feeding the kid.

So, doctors in Saudi Arabia ran tests to determine if this weight-gain was caused by genetics, heredity, or a brain tumor; the results came back negative. Because the child was suffering from severe sleep apnea and a bowing of the legs, doctors decided to take a risk and perform a Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG).

LSG surgery differs greatly from a gastric bypass or lap-band surgery. In a lap-band surgery, the doctors essentially limit how big the stomach can get with a rubber-band-esque contraption. A lap-band surgery is reversible. In a gastric bypass surgery, a small pouch is created next to the stomach which is attached directly to the esophagus and a portion of the small intestine. This procedure allows for food to bypass a portion of the small intestine, leading to faster digestion and less absorption of fat. In a LSG procedure, doctors remove the right portion of the stomach and create a smaller stomach, which is then stretched out and stapled to resemble a banana.

The surgery was performed in 2010, and since then the child has seen remarkable results. In a 24 month follow-up, doctors witnessed a weight reduction of 52 pounds, and the child’s BMI had dropped to 24%.

Doctors are still curious as to what a long-term follow-up will show. For now, though, doctors are fairly optimistic about the benefits of performing bariatric surgery on children:

LSG may be used in very young children provided they have co-morbidities and no improvement with medical and conservative multidisciplinary management. In our patient, the weight reduction was significant and his associated symptoms resolved with time indicating its safety and efficacy.

Before this child, the youngest person to ever have weight loss surgery was also Saudi Arabian. Perhaps Saudi Arabia should start labeling food with the amount of calories it has? Just a suggestion…

Image via YouTube

  • estelle whiddon

    THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!! This is a child whose parents are responsible for this gross neglect! Why don’t young people just say no to their children!!!There is absolutely no reason this child should be allowed and enabled to become this overweight!

  • Sherrill

    This baby should be taken from his parents, hands down. No child should be Allowed to get this big. It is the parents fault, their child is 2 and cannot fend for himself. No doubt that once the band is removed, the child will be allowed to get that big , or bigger again. No way did the parents think this was healthy for him. No one is THAT stupid.

    • deb g

      The child did not have lap band, he had gastric sleeve surgery. Gastric sleeve removes part of the stomach and is not reversible. The weight loss is usually more and happens quicker than with the band. Although there is the possibility of stretching the stomach out and gaining weight again, long term results are very good with the sleeve. I do agree with you, however, that either this child should have been taken away from the parents, or at least a co-custody arrangement with someone to watch out for the child’s welfare. I know there are cultural differences, but this is child abuse!

      • deb g

        Sorry, I made a mistake…it was a gastric bypass, not gastric sleeve.

      • deb g

        I had it right the fist time…this child had gastric sleeve, the youngest child to have weight loss surgery before this boy had gastric bypass.

  • M Hueb

    This not a surgery for a child much less a toddler. I have had a lap-band. You have to go through a lot to have surgery: Nutrition, counciling, and a complete checkup. I don’t think this is good thing for a child. Choosing to have this surgery is a personal choice. You the patient need to make the choice to change your eating habits and exercise habits. I have had to make sure I don’t fall back to old eating habits. If I do I can and will gain all the weight (130 lbs) back. If the parents weren’t able to follow a diet they won’t be able to follow the diet (restricted eating) post gastric surgery. You can “eat” you way out of surgery by eating so much that the stomach streches back out.

    • zak

      This is Saudi Arabia, a woman here is basically a machine to have babies. Do you think you will take a baby, a male baby, away from a father? Ain’t gonna’ happen – no way.

  • http://webpronews.com Deb Stasse

    I’m wondering if this little boy has siblings? Are they also obese? Also, if the parents don’t understand children’s nutrition, weren’t there other family members who could have assisted? This suregery seems way to drastic for a toddler!

  • Gidget

    What is happening in this world? No discipline, endulge every desire of a child, no consequences. I hope I’m not around when the diarrhea hits the fan. Humanity is skating on thin ice in so many ways.

    • Bob

      With such obesity rampant, let’s hope the ice ain’t too thin.

    • Leslie

      Yes,Gidget so many parents want to be “friends” with their children and not do what is best for them.

  • Shelley

    Even after having the surgery, if the child is still not eating healthy foods, he will end up gaining back the food he managed to lose. I have had REY gastric bypass, it is a lifelong commitment to eating the right foods, it is not a free pass to eat anything you want. I could easily gain back the 160 lbs I lost by going back to old eating habits, which I have seen other REY gastic bypass patients do. So sad for the child and very upset with the parents of the child!

    • M Hueb

      I totally agree. I’ve lost 130 lbs. with a lap-band. Having any type of gastric surgery is a PERSONAL CHOICE. One in which you weigh the pros & cons. Then YOU have to make the choice to change your lifestyle choices. The parents of this child were unable to follow a diet how are they going to handle the diet needs that go along with a gastric bypass. Surgery is NOT a fix all. YOU still have to work through it.

  • Shelley

    ..gaining back the weight…sheesh, can’t type.

  • Polly

    It is premature to decide whether the intervention was appropriate or due to a complete disregard by the medical care system of other reasons for the child’s weight changes. There are several genetic disorders, e.g. Prader-Willi, Klein-Levin, and Metabolic Syndromes, which are attributed to obesity-induced metabolic defects. All are rare, hereditary conditions where the sufferer has an an uncontrollable need to eat. Many will also be developmentally challenged. These syndromes are frequently amenable to simple interventions like placing locks on cabinets, refrigerators and pantries, and kitchen doors. The article was silent as to whether or not a geneticist was involved in the child’s care, and if not, the surgical intervention was not only excessive it was also dangerous to the future of the child.

    • Pete

      This is a ridiculous and irrelevant comment. The kid was 2 years old. It wasn’t like he was feeding himself so what would locks on cabinets do? You sound so stupid, and I think it’s funny because you think you sound so smart.

  • lovinglifeandhappy!

    come on people!did anyone ever here of the magic weight loss diet? EAT LESS GARBAGE FOOD, AND EXERCISE MORE! helllooo! You don’t wake up one day and say ‘hey what happened…I’m obese?’ My sympathy goes to this child whose parents abused him by overfeeding him again..It took them two years to realize he may have medical problem? I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt, if that is the case. Everyone is full of cop outs and lack of responsibility. If you’re fat, you most likely got that from the fork to mouth over exercise. read your labels, educate yourself, quit blaming food…it’s you!

  • lynne

    Soes Saudi have the equivalent of CPS ? Did anything happen to the parents ???

  • Shelby

    A 77lb boy lost 152lbs. That IS amazing!

    “…but I am sure the doctor told the parents what foods they should have been feeding the kid.” Is thus a news article or an OP/ED? How can you state that???

    The first paragraph says he had Gastric Bypass surgery, then later it is written that he had Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy and follows with a paragraph explaining the differences.

    For someone claiming to be a professional writer and teacher this piece is poorly written at best.

    • Megan

      It says t52 lbs lol

    • Richard

      The article I read says he lost 52 pounds…

    • Brian Powell

      Thanks for identifying the error stating the gastric bypass gaffe. It has since been corrected.

      This is a quasi-news article in the sense that it reports actual events and also allows for individual commentary. Without such liberty, these articles would be dry and boring. Journalism is fraught with a lack of writing voice, a quality which leads most people to avoid reading the news.

      That being said, one can safely assume that doctors told the parents what foods they should be feeding the kid due to the fact that all doctors take a Hippocratic oath in which they swear to help all patients to the best of their abilities.

    • Brian Powell

      Thanks for identifying the error stating the gastric bypass gaffe. It has since been corrected.

      This is a quasi-news article in the sense that it reports actual events and also allows for individual commentary. Without such liberty, these articles would be dry and boring. Journalism is fraught with a lack of writing voice, a quality which leads most people to avoid reading the news.

      That being said, one can safely assume that doctors told the parents what foods they should be feeding the kid due to the fact that all doctors take a Hippocratic oath in which they swear to help all patients to the best of their abilities.

      Also, I never made the claim of being a professional writer.

    • mynameisme

      a Laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy is the technical name for a type of gastric bypass surgery. There are several types of gastric bypass surgeries.

      • kathleen

        Gastric bypass and VSG are two separate weight loss surgeries. There is NO bypass with the VSG! While you may suffer malnutrition without supplementation due to limited intake of foods (eg: calcium, B12, iron), there is much lesser chance of this occurring as food travels through the normal passageway. This is a restrictive WLS only! Gastric bypass not only reduces the stomach size it also circumvents the length of the small intestine thus preventing the absorption of vital nutrients.

  • simon

    They need to chop off the hand that feeds him!



      • Bob

        It is another country, another culture. Not all people feel the need for gov’t seizure of one’s children.

    • suckmycock


      • charles


  • mamaeve

    wow poor baby. my husband had this surgery and went through hell. Although he has lost a lot of weight i would never even for a second consider this surgery for a child or even a teen for that matter. and since he is so young he prob wont remember the pain he went through when he get older and will more than likely streach is stomach back out. My hubby refuses to gain weight cause he doent want to have gone through hell for nothing. Shame on all involved

  • Norma

    How are calories “calculated differently in other countries than they are in the US”??? A calorie is a measure of heat…heat is the same no matter where you are on the earth. A degree is a degree. This is the most poorly written piece I think I’ve ever read online.

    • Richard

      Perhaps if you left your little village in Kentucky you would learn something about this subject and make an intelligent comment, Norma. However, that said I am not justifying in any way the behavior of the parents. The calculation of the calories in their country should not have taken priority over common sense.

    • rearbone

      you ever hear of Fahrenheit and Celsius?

      • Bob

        Yes, and what does that have to do with food calories?

    • nkolamayo

      Norma, the report’s statement read that there is an absence of caloric value of the diet–but the report was referring to the parents; they were not tracking the calories the way they should have been. THat is what the reporter was referring to.

      It’s unfortunate that you were not able to understand this, but that was a part of the quote from the statement of the doctors.

  • suckmycock

    how ridiculous is this.. ever heard of exercising his fat butt.. good god..idiots..id take the doctors and nurses licenses and shove them 6 feet under … never to be used again.. stupid stupid stupid! this child will now have severe problems his whole life.. IDIOTS!

  • suckmycock


  • Martha

    I think one has to remember that over in Saudi Arabia they just eat what is put in front of them. It’s a totally different system over there. No such thing as calories. They eat what their culture includes. Now, they ARE getting a little more modern, as there is a McDonald’s over there somewhere (I read an article about it.) Maybe the Kid’s Meal did it. The combination of cultural foods that smack of carbs and fat AND McDonald’s. I’m very surprised the child did not have diabetes.

    • Haleysname

      Sorry to be this person, but can we stop associating all Diabetes with fat? I have had type 1 diabetes since I was six years old. It is just an auto-immune disease. it is not something preventable, or something I could have prevented.

      The diabetes you are referring to is type 2. it may not seem like much but there is a stigma that i would rather not be associated with.

      • Bob

        Type 2 diabetes should also not be associated with fat. It comes from the consumption of excessive carbohydrates, not fat. Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup is especially bad. All processed foods like white flour products are just sugar to the body.

    • PJ

      I have diabetes and when I saw my specialist this past Monday, she said that just because you are overweight doesn’t mean you will get diabetes. She said you have to have the gene to get diabetes. She’s a specialist at an University so I’m thinking she knows what she’s talking about.

  • Dee

    I had that surgery, but I was 41 years old. I can’t even imagine having at such a young age, because its a lot to process. I don’t understand why the parents couldn’t control what the child was eating. I think its probably traumatic for the child. Hopefully he won’t remember much of it and perhaps be saved from adulthood and adolescent obesity, but still its a lot to ask at such a young age. Hopefully, the parents will be responsible and not stretch his stomach back out………..because it is possible to gain weight after gastric bypass….I have not but I know I could if I didn’t monitor myself closely.

  • Mikayla

    Wow, the doctors waited until a 1 year old was 46 pounds before telling the parents to put him on a diet?

    This sounds like a very strange form of child abuse to me. When the parents failed repeatedly to address something like this that could easily kill their child, someone should have stepped in and cared for that little boy in the way he deserves.

  • lynn

    Honestly, people, it’s clear that he has a biological problem that is unknown to the medical field at this time. It would be impossible for a normal toddler to put on that kind of weight. “Child abuse” is rubbish; their is something very different about his metabolism and his parents would have had to almost starve him to death to get some of the weight off.

    • nkolamayo

      Lynn, how would you know? Are you an expert? Did you run tests on this child yourself? First off, if you read the entire article, you would have seen that the doctors ran tests. If the parents were wealthy, even more sophisticated tests would have been run. Secondly, the Arab culture doesn’t monitor caloric intake; you pretty much eat what’s before you.

      Thirdly, there are plenty of obese children who get this way because their parents feed them anything and everything, mostly to pacify them because they, the parents, are too lazy or to overwhelmed to actually parent the kid.

      Try educating yourself before you make a comment.

  • kimanne

    Seriously thought this was a joke when I first read it. IF the parents couldn’t get control of the child’s diet prior to surgery, how can they be expected to follow a post bypass lifestyle? You can die from gastric bypass if you don’t follow strict portion sizes and types of food that you eat afterwards. No to mention the iron def anemia and vitamin deficiencies that come along with having the surgery. The Dr’s and Parents are crazy.

    • nkolamayo

      Exactly. What fools these parents are.

  • Kay Travis

    I wish that the original article had mentioned the weights of the parents. There are so many differences in the expectations of normal in various countries! Most of the above responders have prescribed the sorts of treatment that might be used in this country in such a case. But this poor little child has been through a rough time, and if he does not get better care he will have more of the same, and probably have a short life span.