As the incidence of childhood obesity rises across Mumbai — and the rest of urban India — teenagers are increasingly turning to radical weight-loss surgeries as a quick, easy solution.
The most popular weight-loss procedure today, say surgeons, is bariatric surgery, where an average teenage stomach — about the size of a football — is reduced to the size of an egg.
Though some parents are also bringing in obese children as young as seven, doctors say they only operate in critical cases.
"There has been a steady rise in the number of teenagers coming in with their parents and opting for such surgery," said Dr Sanjay Borude, an obesity surgeon with Breach Candy and Jaslok Hospital, adding that a third of his patients are now morbidly obese teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18.
The downside of such surgery is that it changes the adolescent's digestive system, often permanently. Most patients can never have a full meal again.
Surgeons like Dr Ramen Goel, a bariatric surgeon with Bombay Hospital, also warn that the radical procedure is not a permanent solution.
"Without a healthy, nutritional diet, these youngsters can still regain all that weight," he said.