Waiting and surgery aren't the only options

Waiting and surgery aren't the only options

Waiting and surgery aren't the only options

A pediatrician in North Carolina is offering a second opinion on the American Academy of Pediatrics' (AAP) new guidance that recommends drugs and surgery to combat child obesity.

Dr. Rosemary Fernandez Stein of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) points out that while new treatment plans and ideas are common, the long-term effects of these medications are unknown.

"We certainly have not been so quick to try surgery in children down to 13 [years old] in the past," she notes. "So these are things that you can have in your armamentarium, but I certainly wouldn't be one to try them first."

Stein, Dr. Rosemary (CMDA) Stein

The AAP's recommendations mention drugs and surgery in addition to diet, exercise, and other lifestyle interventions. But Dr. Ihuoma Eneli, director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition at Nationwide Children's Hospital, claims that "waiting does not work."

"What we see is a continuation of weight gain and the likelihood that they'll have [obesity] in adulthood," Dr. Eneli tells the Associated Press.

But while Dr. Stein cannot account for what other doctors are doing, she does not "wait and see." Instead, she brings in patients every three months and has discussions about what they are eating, what they are doing, and what parents are trying to curtail any overeating and the continued increase in weight – "in a very friendly" way.

"It's very important to not add to the stigma of being overweight whenever possible, but it's not a wait and see approach," she tells AFN. "It is really, 'Let's do this together.'"