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Pediatricians now recommend drugs and surgery for kids with obesity

Doctors step up fight against childhood obesity, say “watchful waiting” doesn’t work.

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Children as young as 12 with obesity should now consider taking weight loss drugs, and those as young as 13 with severe obesity should consider metabolic or bariatric surgery, according to aggressive new guidelines released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The new guidance marks the first time the AAP has recommended weight loss drugs for childhood obesity. Overall, the medical group is urging immediate, intensive action to get ahead of childhood obesity and overweight before the complex conditions lead to long-term health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“There is no evidence that ‘watchful waiting’ or delayed treatment is appropriate for children with obesity,” said Sandra Hassink, an author of the guideline and vice chair of the AAP’s Clinical Practice Guideline Subcommittee on Obesity, said in a statement. “The goal is to help patients make changes in lifestyle, behaviors, or environment in a way that is sustainable and involves families in decision-making at every step of the way.”

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