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Childhood Obesity: Drugs and Surgery Top List of American Academy of Pediatrics New Guidelines


The Defender Staff

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on Monday issued new clinical guidelines for treating childhood obesity, recommending physicians offer weight-loss drugs and surgery to obese children.

The guidelines, amended for the first time in 15 years, highlight the “complex genetic, physiologic, socioeconomic, and environmental contributors” to obesity — but the recommendations focus on treatment rather than prevention and don’t address potential adverse effects of medications and surgeries.

“While we applaud the AAP for addressing the grave issue of childhood obesity, their newest recommendations are misguided and negate the root causes,” Dr. Michelle Perro told The Defender.

For many years, the AAP unsuccessfully promoted the “diet and exercise” mantra while obesity rates continued to soar, Perro said.

Perro, a pediatrician, executive director of GMO Science and author of “What’s Making Our Children Sick?: How Industrial Food Is Causing an Epidemic of Chronic Illness, and What Parents (and Doctors) Can Do About It,” added:

“What has not been addressed are the obesogens in American children’s meals, substances that produce obesity, lurking in their food at home as well as school, caused mostly by pesticides and plastics. The cause of the metabolic disorder of obesity is that it is an environmental disease.

“Unless we remove the pesticides and other toxicants, the promotion of drugs and surgery are panaceas, bandaids, and foster the ‘pill for ill’ model, rather than root-cause real solutions.”

Mary Lou Singleton, midwife and family nurse practitioner, told The Defender the new AAP guidelines “offered no meaningful analysis or explanation of what is driving the childhood obesity epidemic.”

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Singleton added:

“I found no mention of the massive changes in the U.S. food supply that correlate with the skyrocketing rates of obesity among children and adults alike …

“The document fails to address the school lunch program, which is providing a significant amount of the calories U.S. schoolchildren are eating weekly. Most schoolchildren in the U.S. are fed plastic-wrapped, chemically-preserved, pesticide-laden food made in factories months or years earlier. In addition to the sugar, the chemicals in these foods have endocrine-disrupting obesogenic properties.”

The new AAP guidelines recommend against a “watchful waiting” approach that may delay treatment, instead directing pediatricians and other providers to treat obesity early — referring children ages 6 years and older and potentially those ages 2 to 5 years who are overweight or obese for intensive health behavior and lifestyle treatment.

The guidelines also recommend that obese children 12 and older be offered weight-loss medications alongside health behavior and lifestyle treatments and that doctors refer severely obese children 13 and older to surgeons to evaluate whether they would be good candidates for metabolic and bariatric surgery.

They also state that pediatricians may consider weight-loss medications for children as young as 8 to 11 years old.

Overweight and obese children and adolescents should also be evaluated for related comorbidities, the guidelines also state.

Devastating side effects for kids, big profits for Big Pharma

The guidelines offer consensus recommendations on the use of pharmacotherapy for children ages 8 and up, and provide a list of potential medications.

As of March 2021, the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved pharmacotherapies for obesity were orlistat and liraglutide in children 12 and older and phentermine in teens 16 and older,