Cincinnati Children's First to Receive NIH Grants To Study Bariatric Surgery Outcomes in Adolescents

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has received two major grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study outcomes of bariatric surgery among teens.

These are believed to be the first NIH-funded studies to scientifically examine physical and psychosocial outcomes of bariatric surgery in the adolescent population.

Thomas Inge, MD, PhD, surgical director of the Comprehensive Weight Management Center at Cincinnati Children's, has received a two-year, $298,000 grant to examine the role of bariatric surgery in affecting type 2 diabetes. "As the obesity epidemic has unfolded, so too has the increase in prevalence of abnormalities of carbohydrate metabolism," he says. "Type 2 diabetes in adolescents and children is not well understood, and no studies have yet examined the effect of surgical weight loss on insulin resistance, insulin secretion or glucose tolerance in severely obese young people. It seems likely that bariatric surgery can improve these conditions in youth."

Meg Zeller, PhD, a psychologist at Cincinnati Children's, has received a two-year, $149,000 grant to study psychosocial status and quality of life in adolescents before and after bariatric surgery. "Identifying how psychosocial factors affect successful surgical outcomes and long-term weight loss will be critical to determining who should be considered for surgery and what treatment options might be most effective," she says.

The prevalence of obesity has tripled over the last three decades. Currently, between 15.5 percent and 37 percent of adolescents are obese, depending on which ethnic groups are examined, according to studies published in JAMA and Pediatrics. Studies have also shown that obese adolescents have a 50 to 77 percent risk of becoming obese adults, and they are increasingly developing complications of obesity.

Fifty-five patients have had bariatric surgery at Cincinnati Children's since the medical center began performing weight loss surgery in 2001. This makes the bariatric surgery program at Cincinnati Children's the largest program for adolescents in the United States. The bariatric surgery program is part of the Comprehensive Weight Management Center, which offers a family-centered approach to treating obesity in teens -- including long-term after care and emotional support.

Cincinnati Children's is a 423-bed institution devoted to bringing the world the joy of healthier kids. Cincinnati Children's is dedicated to transforming the way health care is delivered by providing care that is timely, efficient, effective, family-centered, equitable and safe. It ranks third nationally among all pediatric centers in research grants from the National Institutes of Health. The Cincinnati Children's vision is to be the leader in improving child health.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer,, 513-636-4656