Childhood obesity is a serious issue that can lead to numerous health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 has more than tripled in the past four decades.
In an effort to address this public health crisis, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that surgery and nutrition therapy be considered as treatment options for teens with severe obesity.
The guidelines, published in the journal Pediatrics, state that surgery should be considered for adolescents who have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher and have not responded to other weight loss efforts, such as diet and exercise. Surgery should also be considered for those with a BMI of 40 or higher, regardless of their response to other weight loss interventions.
The guidelines recommend a variety of surgical options, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy, and gastric banding. These procedures work by reducing the size of the stomach, which helps to limit the amount of food a person can eat and ultimately leads to weight loss.
In addition to surgery, the guidelines also recommend nutrition therapy for adolescents with severe obesity. This may include working with a registered dietitian to develop a healthy eating plan and identifying any underlying nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to weight gain.
It’s important to note that the AAP guidelines are not recommending surgery as a first-line treatment for obesity in adolescents. Rather, they are suggesting that it be considered as a viable option for those who have not responded to other weight loss interventions and are at risk for serious health problems.
If you have a teen who is struggling with obesity, it’s important to speak with a healthcare professional about the best treatment options. Together, you can develop a plan that meets your child’s needs and helps them achieve a healthy weight.