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New AAP childhood obesity guidelines recommend immediate action

Posted at 8:24 PM, Jan 10, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For the first time in 15 years the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its guidelines for childhood obesity.

To read the new guidelines click here.

The guidelines say treatment for younger children struggling with obesity should involve a focus on behavior and lifestyle changes for an entire family.

"When you look at a lot of families, who have children who are struggling, it's very rare that it's only the child that's struggling. It's often a social issue, or a cultural issue." said Dr. Ann O'Connor, the director of adolescent metabolic and bariatric surgery program for the Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

For children 12 and older, the AAP says the use of weight loss medication could be appropriate and considered. The guidelines say teens 13 and older with severe obesity should be evaluated for surgery.

"It used to be often, that those patients would be told wait until they're old enough to make decisions." said Dr. O'Connor. "This is appropriate to seek out help for your child. You wouldn't hesitate to help treat their diabetes or their cancer and we shouldn't hesitate to help treat their obesity."

Taking preventative measures is also encouraged to make sure a child grows to be a healthy adult.

The Coastal Bend Food Bank has nutrition education classes. USDA-SNAP Education partially funds the program to deliver no-cost education with hands-on cooking classes and games for children and adults who are eligible.

Alejandra Vasquez a nutrition educator at Coastal Bend Food Bank said, "Eating healthy can taste good even if you're on a budget, or even if, you know like, you don't have the means to go to Natural Grocers and buy something expensive. Something inexpensive under maybe 10 dollars can also be delicious and be very nutritious."

To learn about the program click here.

Nationwide more than 14 Million children and teens live with obesity according to AAP. Overweight and obesity increases a person's risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and other serious medical conditions according to the Texas Health and Human Services.