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DENVER — Weight-loss surgery for kids may sound controversial to some, but the American Academy of Pediatrics is now suggesting that it be considered a safe option for severely obese kids and that insurance companies should cover it.

“This really liberates us to expand our resources to support them,” said Dr. Michael Snyder, the medical director of the Denver Center for Bariatric Surgery at Rose Medical Center.

He now plans to expand an adolescent program for teens who are about 80 to 100 pounds overweight.

“The common misconception: ‘Well, if they just were better at exercising and dieting, they could lose weight.’ That’s a total fallacy,” Snyder said.

Snyder says there is a genetic component and surgery could help prevent lifelong health problems.

But the surgery is a big commitment for a young person.

“An adolescent program is a different  animal.  We’re talking about kids and adolescents making adult decisions, with an adult mindset and adult responsibilities. And that’s asking a lot,” Snyder said.

Snyder says his patients would need to be done growing and be able to show the maturity to follow through.

Other area facilities also offer the procedures to teens.