Gastric bypass surgery can bring significant weight loss and health benefits for obese teens, according to a three-year study which monitored the health conditions of adolescents.

Led by Dr. Thomas Inge, a specialist from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, researchers followed 242 obese adolescents who underwent bariatric surgery. These individuals were aged between 13 to 19 years old and had an average weight of 325 pounds at the beginning of the study.

The study, which is issued in The New England Journal of Medicine, said that undergoing surgery helped these adolescents lose one-third of their original weight and maintain their weight loss in three years. From 325 pounds, some of the participants had gone to about 240 pounds after surgery.

The adolescents also gained health benefits such as increased heart health. The study said that 95 percent of teen patients who had type 2 diabetes and underwent surgery showed no signs of diabetes during the three-year period. Most of the patients experienced a dramatic reduction in blood pressure, improved kidney function as well as less blood fat.

However, researchers found that 13 percent of the obese patients required additional surgery such as gall bladder removal, and that more than half of the patients had low levels of iron. The latter can be solved through vitamin supplements, experts said.

Still, researchers said that the results of these findings can pave way for fewer heart attacks, strokes and other diseases in the long run.

Meanwhile, similar studies that involve adults do not show results that are as significant, Dr. Inge said. Data suggests that in adults who go through bariatric surgery, levels of blood pressure was reduced in 38 percent of the patients, while in teens, levels of blood pressure was reduced in 74 percent of the patients.

Dr. Inge said that early intervention truly has benefits for obese patients.

"When you are the parent of a morbidly obese teen and you are contemplating surgery, it's reassuring to see a large study like this that gives you a little more peace of mind that this intervention is safe and effective," added Dr.Inge.

Researchers will continue monitoring the patients until after 10 years in a program called Teen-LABS.

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