Video Abstract

Video Abstract

Close modal

The American Academy of Pediatrics endorses metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) as a safe and effective treatment of severe obesity in children with class 3 obesity or with class 2 obesity and qualifying comorbidities. The study objective was to determine eligibility and characteristics of adolescents who qualify for MBS based on American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.


This retrospective cohort study analyzed electronic health record data of 603 051 adolescents aged 13 to 17 years between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria were used to define obesity classes 2 and 3. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate the factors associated with meeting MBS eligibility criteria.


Of the 603 041 adolescents evaluated, 22.2% had obesity (12.9% class 1, 5.4% class 2, and 3.9% class 3). The most frequently diagnosed comorbid conditions were gastroesophageal reflux disease (3.2%), hypertension (0.5%), and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (0.5%). Among adolescents with class 2 obesity, 9.1% had 1 or more comorbidities qualifying for MBS, and 4.4% of all adolescents met the eligibility criteria for MBS. In multivariable modeling, males, Black and Hispanic adolescents, and those living in more deprived neighborhoods were more likely to meet MBS eligibility criteria.


Overall, 1 in 23 adolescents met the eligibility criteria for MBS. Demographic and social determinants were associated with a higher risk for meeting these criteria. The study suggests that the health care system may face challenges in accommodating the demand for MBS among eligible adolescents.

You do not currently have access to this content.