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Recognizing that severe obesity is a serious and worsening public health crisis in children and adolescents, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is calling for greater access to metabolic and bariatric surgery. In a new policy statement, “Pediatric Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery: Evidence, Barriers, and Best Practices,” published Sunday, Oct. 27, the AAP describes severe obesity among children and adolescents as an “epidemic within an epidemic,” one that portends a dramatically shortened life expectancy for today’s generation compared to their parents.
In children and adolescents with less severe forms of obesity, lifestyle modifications have shown moderate success. But these strategies have not worked as well for young people with severe obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of at least 120% of the 95th percentile for age and sex, which roughly equals 35kg/m2 or greater.
Recent evidence shows that surgical treatment is safe and effective, but it is widely underutilized.
Studies of adolescents and young people who have undergone bariatric surgery have found significant long-term reductions in weight and comorbid chronic diseases.
The AAP recommends that pediatricians refer patients to high-quality multidisciplinary centers that have extensive pediatric surgical experience and where pediatric specialists can evaluate and care for patients before and after surgery. Insurance should cover the procedure and follow-up care, according to the AAP. The AAP also recommends avoiding setting arbitrary age limits; rather the procedure should be considered for any patient with severe obesity who meets the criteria for surgery... (Source: Excerpts from American Academy of Pediatrics, 27th Oct, 2019)
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA