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The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance last week about how to evaluate and treat children who are overweight or obese, issuing a 73-page document that argues obesity should no longer be stigmatized as simply the result of personal choices, but understood as a complex disease with short- and long-term health implications.
Based on that rationale, the guidelines — the group’s first update in 15 years — say there is no evidence to support delaying treatment for children with obesity in the hope that they will outgrow it. Instead of the gradual, staged approach recommended in the past, pediatricians and primary care physicians should take a more proactive tack, offering prompt referrals to intensive health behavior and lifestyle treatment programs, in addition to prescribing weight loss drugs or advising surgery in some cases.
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