MONTREAL – Five percent of American children and adolescents suffer from severe obesity, says the American Heart Association in a scientific statement posted Monday by the journal “Circulation.”
The author of the paper, Dr. Aaron Kelly, Faculty of Medicine, University of Minnesota, explained that severe obesity has a significant impact on health and it is a much more serious problem for children than just obesity.
He added that severe obesity is increasing at a time when obesity rates, it appears to be stabilizing.
Children with severe obesity suffer younger type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease such as hypertension, high cholesterol and signs of atherosclerosis.
Treatment options for these children is limited because conventional approaches to control overweight are insufficient for them.
The statement said that children older than two years severely obese if their body mass index (BMI) is 35 or more, or if it is greater by at least 20 percent at the 95th percentile for sex and age. A child who is in the 95th percentile is heavier than 95 percent of children of the same sex and similar age.
Children who are at the 95th percentile of their BMI is considered obese, while those who are between the 85th and 95th percentile are overweight.
For example, a seven year old girl weighing 34 pounds and a 13 year old weighing 73 pounds would be considered severely obese.
The statement recommends studying the impact and safety of bariatric surgery in children to examine the effectiveness of interventions to change lifestyle habits to fund research into the development of better drugs and products medical, and to recognize that severe obesity is a chronic disease that requires long-term care.
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