Weight-loss surgeries on the rise among children

Childhood obesity rates in the U.S. are not where they need to be affecting nearly 20 percent of children and adolescents, according to the CDC, and weight-loss surgeries are increasing in children as a result. 

Metabolic and bariatric surgeries increased in youth between 2020 and 2021, according to research published May 30 in JAMA. In 2021, the use of this treatment rose 18.85 percent year-over-year for children. 

The surgery is one that medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics have advocated for in children as a safe and effective treatment for the disease. However, access to this type of therapy has been limited and in many cases it has historically been underused as a treatment for youth, according to researchers. 

"There is no evidence that 'watchful waiting' or delayed treatment is appropriate for children with obesity," Sandra Hassink, MD, an author of the AAP's clinical practice guidelines for children with obesity previously said in a Jan. 9 news release.

Now, the increase in use of the treatment reveals that among clinicians there is growing "cautious optimism regarding the decreasing barriers to MBS for those U.S. youth in need."

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