New recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics are aimed at actively combating childhood obesity. When overweight, examination and treatment are advised to be carried out in the early stages.
As informs AP NEWS, physicians should prescribe drug therapy at age 12+, and surgical treatment is indicated after 13 years. Experts are calling for a change in the view of obesity as “a personal problem, perhaps a failure of the individual,” says Dr. Sandra Hassink, medical director of the AAP Healthy Weight Institute:
“It’s the same when you have asthma and now we have an inhaler.”
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about one in five children and adolescents suffer from obesity, among adults the figure is even higher – about 42%. Aaron Kelly, co-director of the Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine at the University of Minnesota, argues that obesity is a biological problem and is a complex chronic disease:
“Obesity is not a lifestyle issue. It is not a lifestyle disease. It is predominantly due to biological factors.”
The new recommendations come after the emergence of innovative drug treatments for obesity in children and the approval late last month of weekly injections of Semaglutide for use in children aged 12 years and older. Its different doses are also used under other names for the treatment of diabetes.
In the New England Journal of Medicine published a recent study that convincingly showed that Novo Nordisk’s Semagglutide helped teenagers reduce body mass index by an average of 16%, which is significantly better than results in adults.
The drug affects the regulation of energy along the pathway between the brain and the intestines, explains Dr. Justin Ryder, an obesity researcher at the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. However, some experts caution that while obese children need to be treated early and intensively, there is concern that some doctors may move too quickly to medication or surgery.