by Joann Shin
WAIANAE (KHNL) - Like most 19 year olds, Kanoelani Rogers wants her independence.
"Freedom, like I'm not staying in one place. Staying in one place makes you feel like you're in prison," said Rogers.
She has battled obesity since childhood. A condition that can be physically damaging.
"I walk on my toes. Because of my toes is the reason why my back is sore," explained Rogers.
It can also be harmful psychologically.
"They called my papa to pick me up early from school because the kids found me offensive," she said.
At 15 and 564 pounds, Kanoe set out to change her life. She got help from Dr. Stephen Bradley and his team of specialists at the Malama Ola Clinic in Waianae.
Dr. Bradley says childhood obesity is an epidemic that concerns the entire nation.
He said, "In many schools in the United States, they've been serving sodas in vending machines, fatty snacks, and eliminating P.E. in grade school, intermediate, and now high school."
To lose the weight, Kanoe followed a strict diet. She exercised twice a week with a trainer and on her own.
And she started to see results. According to Dr. Bradley, "What we found out through science, if you can lose and keep off 10% of your body weight, your health stats can get better and she had done that."
In one year, she lost more than 200 pounds.
Rogers said, "When I started to lose weight, I thought it was nice."
But she hit a roadblock. Dr. Bradley says obesity is a chronic disease, where the cure is not simple. Once you lose the weight, keeping it off is more challenging. In fact he says there's a 95% chance the weight will come back.
According to Dr. Bradley, "I didn't see her for a long time, until just recently and she's gained the weight back, plus a few more pounds."
This time, Kanoe is considering gastric bypass surgery.
But Dr. Bradley warned, "Gastric bypass changes the internal anatomy in ways that are not normally reparable, they are permanent."
She'll need to make changes that will last for life.
She explained, "When I look at my papa and see all the stress he has and right now I can't help him and I really want to help him. I can't do it right now, because I can't even help myself."
But she's ready to embark on this journey because of the promise of what lies ahead.