For the first time, new recommendations on how to treat childhood and adolescent obesity from a prestigious group of doctors call for early, aggressive intervention, which may entail weight-loss medications and surgery. Early treatment can bring a considerable difference.
The statistics are indeed an eye-opener. According to the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 15 million children in the United States, or 20% of all children, are obese today.
“The breakthrough that happened in the last few years was people started realizing that hormones made in the gut have multiple roles related to obesity. By targeting these, medications can help people feel full faster and help stabilize insulin levels,” informs Dr. Joan Han, chief of pediatric endocrinology and diabetes at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, New York City
Instead of causing unnecessary delays, the new recommendations advise parents of children six and older to collaborate with their clinicians to make behavioral and lifestyle adjustments. In some cases, this may apply to children aged between 2 to 5.
Early prevention is the best approach. Unfortunately, there are cases where surgery becomes inevitable. Yet, surgical treatments or medicines are not first-line treatment options.
“There is research that shows that getting bariatric surgery sooner can reverse health issues like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, which is why surgery should be considered for pediatric patients,” adds Han.
Yet, these treatment options shouldn’t be the basic options. Instead, they should have opted for other methods that couldn’t yield the desired effects.