Too Young to Go Under the Knife

I wasn’t fat when I was 12, but I sure as hell felt like it. I probably weighed around 105 pounds—maybe 110—but it still didn’t keep me from feeling like the fattest cheerleader on the squad. I look at that picture of me now, and it makes me sad that at that particular moment in my life, and I remember it so distinctly, that I felt so fat.

Which is why this girl makes me so sad. Aside from the fact that it is absolutely ridiculous, I just feel sad for her.

Brooke Bates was 12 years old when she opted for liposuction and a tummy tuck to take the pounds off. At the time she was 220 pounds, which isn’t a healthy weight. But lipo and a tummy tuck during a time when your body is naturally changing due to puberty? It just seems ludicrous.

Brooke lost 40 pounds from the surgery, which she says took her from being the “big, fat girl to the popular girl.” But then less than a year later, she had gained all but five pounds back. Which makes me think that she—or her parents—weren’t combining healthy eating and exercise (and probably much needed therapy) in with her surgery. It isn’t a quick fix, especially when you’re 12. In fact, surgery shouldn’t be a way to fix it at all at that age.

Twelve is just too young.

Since the lipo didn’t work, Brooke and her parents decided to do gastric lap band surgery. But doctors in America typically don’t perform that surgery until age 18 or the patient has a BMI of over 40 or is twice their ideal weight. So the Bates went down to Mexico to have the procedure.

Yes, Mexico. They took their daughter to Mexico to have surgery. And she’s 13.

Now, Mr. and Mrs. Bates, don’t you think the American doctors wouldn’t perform the surgery for a REASON??

I’m going to say YES. But Brooke found it hard to stick to a diet and exercise routine. Brooke’s mother Cindy says they opted for the lap band so that the teen could “control her hunger and how much food intake she was putting into her body everyday.”

Brooke thought her overeating was from addiction, her mother blamed family genes. Whatever the cause of Brooke’s weight problem, diet, exercise and therapy should have been enough until she was older—and her body and good habits had fully developed.

I know what it is like to feel fat at that age. Even though I wasn’t overweight, my teen years were by my issues with my body. So I understand the feeling. But surgery so young just isn’t the answer.

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