Experts recommend drugs and surgery for obesity in teens in new guidelines

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For the first time ever, experts with The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends proactive medical intervention against childhood obesity. The organization’s new guidelines would not require doctors to simply monitor or delay treatment for children with obesity, which is defined as a body mass index over 30. Instead, it now emphasizes a range of options, such as advice on diet and lifestyle for younger children as well as medication. and/or surgery for children 12 years and older.

Previous standards for treating childhood obesity called for “watchful waiting,” and the hope is that a child’s BMI (a measure of weight and height) will naturally decrease over time as they grow. in 2007, and the AAP’s previous recommendations Promote a step-by-step approach, in which clinicians may slowly escalate from observation to treatment. But these new recommendations-released Monday — the first clinical practice guidelines that put obesity treatments front and center.

There is no evidence that ‘watchful waiting’ or delayed treatment is appropriate for children with obesity,” said Sandra Hasink, one of the guideline authors and vice chair of the Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines Subcommittee. statment issued by the organization. “The goal is to help patients make changes in lifestyle, behaviors, or the environment in a way that is sustainable and involves families in decision-making every step of the way.”

Lengthy guidelines outline the many treatments available, depending on the child’s age and other conditions (children under 2 years old They are not considered eligible for obesity treatment).

For younger children, these options can include intensive health behavior and lifestyle therapy, which can include regular counseling sessions with the child and family over the age of 3. to a period of 12 months. For children 12 years of age or older, doctors are now advised to consider medication as a primary option. Adolescents 13 and older may also be evaluated for bariatric surgery as a potential treatment.

in file format Recommendations, the AAP cites several studies that indicate that the benefits of these treatments outweigh any potential risks they may carry. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery appear to have a lower risk of developing obesity-related complications such as: Type 2 diabetes And I have a life expectancy When compared to non-surgical patients matched for age and baseline BMI, eg. Long-term Health benefits It has been observed in adolescent obese patients specifically as well.

There is also a new class of drugs called incretins you have changed a lot Obesity treatment scene in recent years. These drugs combined Combined with diet and exercise, it resulted in significantly greater weight loss on average than most other treatments and approached typical results seen in bariatric surgery.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration they expanded Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, the first drug of this new generation, was approved for children over 12 years of age, following clinical trial data showing that teens experienced similar improvements in BMI as adults.. The shortfall that has plagued Wegovy’s offering since its approval in June 2021 may also finally be over, with the company recently declaring Its supply should be stable now. Without insurance coverage, which is often limited, medication can cost more than $1,000 per month.

The AAP’s guidelines arrive at a time when obesity rates are skyrocketing in the United States, incl between childrenit was only accelerated, most likely due to the covid-19 pandemic. The new recommendations in particular don’t cover how best to prevent childhood obesity, although the organization has promised to issue separate recommendations for that in the near future.

“The medical costs of obesity to children, families and our society as a whole are well documented and require urgent action,” Sarah Humble said in a statement. “This is a complex problem, but there are several ways we can take steps to intervene now and help children and adolescents build the foundation for a long, healthy life.”

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