Surgery Is No Quick Fix for Obese Teens

Some extremely obese teens find presurgery prep can even change their lives for the better. Josh Caudill, a high school senior in Austin, Ind., weighed 472 pounds and had tried the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, and several fad diets when he decided to investigate weight-loss surgery. "I kept trying and I just couldn't do it," he says. "I was getting [to the point] where walking was hard."

He visited the bariatric surgery clinic at a hospital outside Indianapolis, and the doctors there told him he'd have to lose 40 pounds before he could be a candidate.

He asked one of his teachers, a vegetarian, for diet and exercise advice, and the two began taking regular walks together after school. Within two months he'd lost the 40 pounds, but he decided he wanted to lose more weight on his own. "Here I am 11 months in and I lost 122 pounds," he says. "I can jog a mile now. I lift weights probably five days a week."

Caudill has been accepted to Purdue University, and he hopes to be down to 315 pounds by summer. "My main goal is between 230 and 250," he says. "That's my life goal."

His father, who also struggles with obesity and recently had a second gastric bypass after regaining the weight he'd lost, urged him to get the surgery, Caudill says. "I think in some cases it's OK to have, but in my case, it's not for me."
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Anne Harding
Last Updated: May 17, 2011

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