Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others: Tween Lipo

Maybe you saw Brooke Bates on Good Morning America today? She's the 13-year-old who has already had two weight-related surgeries, according to ABC News. At 12, Brooke weighed 220 lbs. Her mother allowed her to get liposuction and a tummy tuck, and by early 2006, she'd lost 40 pounds. But in less than a year, she had gained 35 pounds back. Brooke and her family traveled to Mexico for gastric lap band surgery, since most doctors in the U.S. will not perform the procedure unless the patient is 18 years or older.

Brooke swears, "I don't think getting cut and going through surgery is the easy way out." A prominent doctor (who did not treat Brooke) worries that she was too young for the surgeries and stresses, "it is important to make sure that diet and exercise and lifestyle issues are addressed. I think surgery is really not the answer in this age group." Brooke is still not at her goal weight of 125, but says, "I know I can [lose] more." Her mother claims that Brooke's weight is a "hereditary characteristic" in the family, but we couldn't help noticing how Brooke says she "went from the big, fat girl to the popular girl." While it is true that obesity can be hereditary — and is very serious — how long did Brooke try working out and eating less? How soon is too soon to turn to surgery? And are we romanticizing this, or isn't there something character-building about doing the best you can with the cards life has dealt you — at least until you, let's say, get to college? Or start working for a living? On the other hand, childhood these days is so tough, maybe it's best to take any help you can get?

Too Young? Teen Gets Lap Band After Lipo [ABCNews]