A major move tonight to treat obese children.
In Monroe County alone, an estimated 16% of kids age 2 to 17 are obese. Today, doctors received the toughest guidelines yet to treat the problem.
The American Medical Association is calling for yearly weight checks, counseling for kids even if they're not overweight and in extreme cases, medication or weight loss surgery.
Child bariatric surgery is a rarity and is not performed at any hospital in our area or in upstate NY. Height and weight checks are the norm when you take your child to the doctor but from now on, don't be surprised if your doctor takes a body-mass-index or BMI count as well and determines the weight class your child falls into. The BMI will help catagorize kids into groups that are either overweight or obese.
In addition to counseling children and parents about healthy lifestyles pediatricians may even set a weight goal for your child if he or she is overweight. Doctor Stephen Cook from the Golisano Children's Hospital says "The guidelines are more detailed because the previous recommendations didn't have: You should see them back this often, You should recommend as a goal, a half pound or a half pound every other week as a goal."
There will also likely be an assessment of other health factors related to childhood obesity whether it's elevated blood pressure, cholesterol problems, blood sugar problems like diabetes, but also psycho-social problems including depression and poor self esteem.
The new guidelines go into effect immediately and it may make the visit a little longer but it may pay off in the long run.