Pediatricians in the US are urging insurance companies to treat childhood obesity as a disease and support those who have exhausted all other options.
Obesity rates in certain countries around the world are pretty worrying. What's even more worrying is when that high rate includes a country's children. While some developing countries around the world are struggling to keep their children fed, others are trying to tackle increasing rates of obesity among their little ones.
There are a number of ways in which governments are trying to tackle childhood obesity. Taxing sugary drinks and even banning the consumption of junk food on public transport in some countries. However, pediatricians in the United States are currently arguing that weight loss surgery for children shouldn't be something that is frowned upon/off the table.
People reports that the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended weight loss surgery as a safe option for severely obese children. The word "severely" is the key here. That surgery should only be considered an option when all others have been exhausted and the child's health and possibly even life is in danger. Dr. Stephen Cook says that childhood weight loss surgery should still be "extremely rare."
The main aim is to have insurance companies cover the surgery, which it doesn't tend to at present. A study conducted and used as evidence by the AAP might help change that. It includes 3705 children who underwent weight-loss surgery. Only 1.4% of them suffered complications after their operations, and none of them died following the surgery. When trying to appeal to insurance companies, hit them with numbers they're going to like, and these numbers don't lie.
Dr. Cook goes on to say that obesity needs to be treated like a disease, and not like it's something a person does to themselves on purpose. "Obesity is a disease and it needs to be treated like that. It’s not a personality flaw or defect.” Again, in regard to children undergoing weight loss surgery, the argument is not to increase how often that happens. It's to get insurance companies to recognize that it should be covered going forward.