Background: Pediatric obesity is a growing problem affecting the health of our youth. We sought to identify the barriers to pediatric bariatric referral at a tertiary referral center. Methods: We performed a survey of pediatricians and family practitioners at a single institution to assess their perspectives on pediatric obesity. Results: A total of 61 physicians completed the survey (response rate 46%). All believed pediatric obesity is a major problem, and 82.0% noted an increase in the incidence during a mean period of 15 years (range 3-25). Of the 61 physicians, 88.5% used nonoperative weight loss techniques, with only 1.8% reporting satisfactory results. However, 42.6% had referred a patient (adult or pediatric) for a bariatric procedure, of whom 84.6% were satisfied with the operative outcomes. Despite the high satisfaction with bariatric procedures, 88.5% would be unlikely or would never refer a child for a bariatric procedure, and 44.3% would be somewhat or very likely to refer an adolescent. Conclusion: Physicians caring for children recognize the growing problem of childhood and adolescent obesity. Despite the poor outcomes with nonoperative methods and the high satisfaction with the outcomes of bariatric procedures, physicians are still reluctant to refer children and adolescents for surgical weight loss procedures.
- Bariatric surgery
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