Consider Drugs, Surgery Early for Obesity in Children
Data indicate waiting doesn't work
Children struggling with obesity should be evaluated and treated early and aggressively, including with medications for kids as young as 12 and surgery for those as young as 13, according to new guidelines released Monday.
The longstanding practice of "watchful waiting," or delaying treatment to see whether children and teens outgrow or overcome obesity on their own only worsens the problem that affects more than 14.4 million young people in the U.S., researchers say. Left untreated, obesity can lead to lifelong health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.
"Waiting doesn't work," said Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, co-author of the first guidance on childhood obesity in 15 years from the American Academy of Pediatrics. "What we see is a continuation of weight gain and the likelihood that they'll have (obesity) in adulthood."
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