Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others: Tween Lipo

Illustration for article titled 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]



Woah. This issue really touched a nerve. I'm going to stay out of the "why are people overweight" debate and go back to something from the original post - the CHARACTER issue. I definitely don't think that suffering has inherent value or that if you are genetically obese and can't do anything about it you should just live with it when there are medical procedures that can help you. I'm not making any generalized statements. What I WILL say is that as someone who definitely has the fat gene, and has been both fat and thin during my life, I do think that I gained something of value by NOT aways being cute and thin. In some ways I'm lucky because I've always been pretty comfortable with myself, had cute/smart/good catch boyfriends, had a family that wasn't incredibly focused on appearance (although definitely are overly invested in my weight), and just basically had good self esteem. Not everyone is that lucky. But watching my mother and others go through the aging process, I see how devestating it is for them to no longer feel like they are young and attractive, and I think "Huh, you know, I don't think that this will be as hard for me - I've learned to take pride in other areas and be able to be sexy and happy and romantic despite not being a size 2, and just maybe the fact that I don't get cat-called at age 40 won't be as upsetting when I was never cat-called to begin with." I guess I'm saying that you shouldn't have to suffer needlessly if you can avoid it, but I do think there is something to be said with learning to live, within reason, with the limitations you were dealt. If I'm funny and smart and have a relatively loving family and was lucky to get a great education and have a good job and great friends, then maybe I don't need or deserve to be a size 4 too, and maybe it's worth leaning how to be happy despite that.