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Allina Health specialists help young people face obesity head-on

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. 9/20/2017  The Allina Health Kids, Teens and Young Adults Weight Management Program is specifically geared for people under the age of 25. The goal is to intervene early and avoid severe health issues and diseases related to obesity.

“High blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea are complications that many young people now face. We believe people of all ages deserve a comprehensive approach to their weight concerns,” said Bradley Linden, M.D., medical director.

The Allina Health Kids, Teens and Young Adults Weight Management Program includes nutrition, activity, and behavior change. Treatment might also include medication and bariatric surgery depending on the severity of disease.

Patients begin with evaluations by a physician, registered dietitian, physical therapist, and psychologist who specialize in the care of young people and obesity. Pediatric specialists in sleep medicine, genetics, gynecology, endocrinology and cardiology are also available to support patients. After six to twelve months of intensive, medically-supervised weight management efforts, the medical team, patient and family may decide that a surgical option is the appropriate treatment.

Randi Westad, a 17-year-old from Faribault, Minn., was the program’s first adolescent to have weight loss surgery. Westad had lost more than 30 pounds working with the medical team. That kind of success — a weight loss of five to ten percent — improves obesity-related conditions.

But Westad determined surgery was her best option for losing significant weight. The medical team recognized her strong motivation and the support she received from her parents and siblings. And, they had confidence she would follow recommendations following surgery.

“I wanted to improve my health and live a long life, and I was worried about other medical issues that could happen just because of my weight,” she said.

About Allina Health

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 11 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services, home care, and emergency medical transportation services.