AUSTIN (KXAN) — Weight loss drugs prescribed for adults with diabetes, and made popular by many celebrities, may be available for kids soon.
According to a NewsNation report, pharmaceutical companies, behind the weight loss shots like Ozempic and Mounjaro, are testing a version to treat kids as young as six years old with obesity.
“Incredibly concerning,” Austin-based psychologist Dr. Allison Chase said.
The Centers for Disease Control warns childhood obesity is a serious health problem in the United States with one in five children and adolescents affected.
If approved for kids, the weight loss shots may be one more tool for doctors to prescribe in the fight against childhood obesity.
“It feels not appropriate to be looking at when they’re wanting to prescribe these drugs. They’re not looking at the full picture, they’re not looking at the holistic approach of health for a child or adolescent,” Chase said.
Chase is the senior clinical advisor for the Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center.
She cautions healthy weight loss is a physical and mental health approach.
“These drugs are based on weight itself. And weight in itself is not an indicator of health,” Chase said. “And when I say health, I’m also referring to the mental health piece. There’s a whole big picture there that I worry that is not being looked at.”
Chase warns weight loss in kids is complex and not always a quick fix.
“When we just look at weight alone, we’re not really looking at the big picture. We’re making an assumption that their bodies are not healthy or they’re not OK. And then the other part is that we’re not even considering what a young child’s relationship with food might be.”
She suggests parents be role models for their kids with a healthy outlook on the physical and mental part of losing weight.
“Your kids are paying attention to all of it,” Chase said. “We really recommend a family meal when it’s possible to gather and have a connection and doing that, exposure to all kinds of food, healthy movement but most important is how you show up for your kids in a way that sets a really good example of a healthful mindset and in behaviors.”