(WHTM) — The American Society of Pediatrics released new guidelines, recommending the exploration of medication or surgery when it comes to childhood obesity.
Doctors have said that these guidelines are robust at a time when obesity is becoming more prevalent.
“[It’s] very exciting, I think in many ways that these new guidelines have been approved,” said Dr. Christopher Russo.
According to information from the CDC, obesity affects 20% of kids, making the total number of children affected over 14 million. The CDC says that childhood obesity is one of the most common pediatric chronic diseases in the U.S.
New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics are putting a strong focus on health equity and reducing the stigma that is associated with childhood obesity.
“Certainly, obesity can be very stigmatizing for children and so really trying to encourage clinicians, practices, health care systems to do what we can to remove that stigma for their phsyco-social well-being,” said Russo.
Making these changes for your children can also help the entire family.
Russo said that incorporating healthy choices and physical activity into your lifestyle can help everyone.
Once a child has been diagnosed; treatment is recommended.
“Children starting at the age of 6-years-old should be offered intensive lifestyle treatment,” said Dr. Marsha Novick.
Novick says that the treatment should be focused on better nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
“However, there are situations when the obesity has become severe and more aggressive treatment is recommended,” said Novick.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that starting at 12-years-old, anti-obesity medications should be considered.
“For teens starting ages 13-years-and-older, the guidelines also include weight-loss surgery,” said Novick. “Rarely, maybe 10% to 12% of children with obesity and adolescents with obesity outgrow their obesity.”
This can lead to more problems in their adult life. “Especially in pediatrics, the problems we deal with, if we do not address them, can have life-long consequences for the children,” said Russo.
Both doctors say that lifestyle changes, like nutrition exercise, and ending the stigma, are still the foundation of treating obesity. Medications and surgery shouldn’t be the first option.
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This was the first time in 15 years that the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines.
Doctors say that it’s important to talk to your health care physician.