Childhood Obesity Guidelines Updated for First Time in 15 Years

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The American Academy of Pediatrics released recommendations for anti-obesity medications and surgery for the first time ever.

Dr. Joani Jack, Medical Director of the Healthy Eating and Active Living Center at Erlanger Children’s Hospital, says obesity is the leading chronic illness facing children today.

She believes these new recommendations will create a positive cycle between practitioners and their patients. “What I hope is that it will give, kind of instill some energy and hope to the practitioners first, who’ve maybe been a little, not felt like they had the right tools. And then as they sort of become a little more energetic and feel like they have the right tools, then it will give hope to those kids that they’re treating,” she said.

The new guidelines emphasize that obesity is a complex and chronic condition with no simple fix.

It affects nearly 15 million children and teenagers.

Sierra Davis, an exercise physiologist with the HEAL Center, says this shift in understanding will now give practitioners another way of treating their patients. “We can start with addressing lifestyle changes and interventions and then we can see, ‘okay, there’s something that’s offset that they can’t control. What else can we do on our end to help fix that?’,” she said.

The AAP say there’s evidence that obesity therapy is effective, and that it’s time we address it as we address other chronic diseases.

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