Pediatricians endorse weight loss surgery for kids

Pediatricians endorse weight loss surgery for severely obese kids and teens over the age of 13.

(CNN) — In new recommendations, doctors are recommending weight loss surgery for children and teens.

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued the guidance Sunday in its Medical Journal.

The agency says its making the recommendation to ensure insurance coverage is available for kids who need it. It also said severe obesity in children disproportionally affects racial and ethnic minorities, and the economically disadvantaged — especially for girls.

Obesity, which now affects 1 in 5 children and adolescents in the United States. It can raise the risk for many health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, breathing problems and certain cancers.

The guidelines say surgery can be considered if someone’s body mass index is over 40, which is morbidly obese or if it is over 35 and other health complications are present.

The protocol also says teens must be over 13 and follow a six-month diet and exercise program first.

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