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Obesity Research Spotlight—Severe Obesity in Youth: All Hands on Deck

from Christopher F. Bolling, MD, FAAP

Pediatricians frequently see patients with severe obesity. Often, these patients are already manifesting severe obesity-related disease despite their young age. Sleep apnea, Type II diabetes, hypertension and other comorbidities are occurring with greater frequency in progressively younger age groups. These patients are not only suffering the physiologic consequences of their illness, but they are also likely to be victims of weight bias and bullying. Some also report depression or suicidal ideation.

In my role as Chairman of the Section on Obesity at the American Academy of Pediatrics, I am frequently asked by colleagues what can be done. Medical providers who encounter patients with severe obesity, essentially anyone who sees children, can help their patients by understanding the role of surgery and medications. The recently published article in Obesity Journal, “Clinical Considerations Regarding the Use of Obesity Pharmacotherapy in Adolescents with Obesity” by Gitanjali Srivastava, MD and colleagues summarizes the emerging role of pharmacotherapy. Dr. Srivastava’s contribution maps out the challenges and strategies for using medications for patients with obesity. Furthermore, she challenges us to rethink our approach to dealing with severe obesity in adolescents with this up-to-date summary of what is known with pharmacotherapy for obesity. Though more study is required in this field, this article sheds the first light on a much-needed treatment modality for patients. more


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