The American Academy of Pediatrics says severe obesity among children and teenagers is an “epidemic within an epidemic” and needs to change if today’s children want to have a long life.
The group recommends weight loss surgery for severely obese pediatric patients and says health insurance companies should pay for it.
Obesity affects 1 in 5 children in the United States.
The AAP’s policy statement says on- going studies show weight loss surgery such as bariatric surgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients under 18 years old.
“I think it’s great that this study has come out and shows that the teens who have previously had the bariatric surgery are having success in maintaining that weight off,” said Dr. Lisa Clemons with Austin Regional Clinic. “The study shows generally the children who had this surgery can tolerate it really well no psychological problems associated with it in general, they will grow normally. There is some vitamin replacement that might be needed but beyond that, the benefits of the surgery far outweigh the risks.”
The health risk of kids staying severely obese according to Dr. Clemons is type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea and high blood pressure problems for life.
The AAP says many health insurance companies consider weight loss surgery for severely obese kids and teens as experimental and deny coverage, doctors hope this new recommendation will change that opinion.