New guidelines recommend drugs and surgery for young children with weight issues
(NaturalHealth365) Children are the latest victim in the push to advance the “pill for every ill” culture. New guidelines are pushing for children as young as 13 years old who have been identified as obese to be evaluated early and undergo “aggressive” treatment. This includes medication and even surgery.
While no one denies that childhood obesity is a problem, who could possibly think that shoving pills into a young child, or even worse, putting them under the knife, is a good idea?
2023 Clinical Practice Guidelines suggest early, aggressive treatment of obesity for children
The Clinical Practice Guideline for the Evaluation and Treatment of Children and Adolescents With Obesity from the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends using drugs and surgery early when treating kids with obesity. The contention is that obesity can lead to health problems that may impact a person for their entire life.
While it is true that diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and depression are common comorbid conditions of obesity, these new guidelines still seem rather short-sighted.
What’s the “real cost” of weight loss drugs?
One of the weight loss medications mentioned in the article, and recommended for children, is the injectable once-a-week prescription medication Wegovy. This medication acts like the glucagon-like peptide-1 hormone (GLP-1) and activates GLP-1 receptors, which help the patient regulate their food intake by regulating their appetite.
It is advised that the drug be used in conjunction with regular exercise and a reduced calorie meal plan (but again, if that wasn’t happening before going on the drug, why would it start now?)
And one of the side effects of this “lifesaving” drug? Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. Other side effects of this “wonder drug” include:
- Gallstones and gallbladder problems
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure
- Increased heart rate
- Serious allergic reactions
- Changes in vision
- Depression or thoughts of suicide
But wait, aren’t several of these side effects that this drug is intended to cure by eliminating obesity?
Weight loss surgery for kids isn’t any better
The two most common types of weight loss surgery in the United States are gastric bypass and the gastric sleeve. The risks associated with these two procedures are alarming, to say the least. And considering the care that is required post-surgery regarding what and how much the child can eat, it just seems irresponsible at the very least.
If the child is not eating a healthy diet before surgery, how can they be expected to do it afterward? The problem is, after the surgery, eating those same old foods in the same old large amounts can cause serious health problems that can even be fatal.
But even the risks of the surgeries are concerning:
- Excessive bleeding
- Blood clots
- Leaks in the gastrointestinal system
- Breathing or lung problems
- Long term
- Dumping syndrome (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Bowel obstruction
- Low blood sugar
- Stomach perforation
Who would subject their child to those risks when other options carry far less risk and ensure better health?
Why does Big Pharma target children with risky and expensive medications?
Wegovy costs around $1,300 a month. Many insurers will not pay for it. This means people who want to take their kids down this road will have to pay out of pocket.
Now, consider that according to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity in age groups from 2 to 19 is higher in the low-income and middle-income groups. So the socioeconomic segments of the population most needing help with obesity, where it is a problem, are not likely to be able to afford the drugs and surgery – or the aftercare for diet and lifestyle.
In reality, this “fix” – even if it was a reasonable solution for childhood weight issues – could only be accessible to a small percentage of children who have a problem with obesity.
Drugs and surgery are not the answer
Education and accountability are needed, not popping pills, taking injections, or getting major surgery. As long as these children are in their parents’ care, the parents must shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that their child has a healthy diet and gets proper exercise. Both parents and children need to be educated – and both parents and children need to be held accountable.
It also means making organic, fresh foods more accessible to lower-income families. Educate them on nutrition, planning and preparing healthy meals, and finding activities that get the body moving. It may mean putting resources in place where children are identified as “at risk” based on health conditions or obesity, and they receive access to additional support such as education on shopping, cooking, meal planning, and healthy snacks.
Ultimately though, based on the current culture, it means putting down the digital devices, walking away from the video games, and turning off the television so that the child can engage with other real live human beings. This means parents spending time with their children, talking to them, helping them make better choices, and exercising with them. There is no substitute for parental involvement in a child’s life.
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