How to treat childhood obesity depends on who you ask

April 6, 2023
pediatric-obesitypediatric-obesityAndrea D'Aquino for NPR
Physicians often harbor unconscious bias against kids with obesity, which can have lasting effects on their young patients' health.

Experts disagree on the best way to treat kids diagnosed as overweight or obese. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidance on treatments. The most controversial of the recommendations favor physicians taking a proactive approach to weight loss, including medication for children 12 and older and an evaluation for metabolic and bariatric surgery for teens 13 and older. Many physicians said taking agressive action early can head off health problems later on. But others, including doctors who treat eating disorders, say the approach could further fuel biases doctors have about weight and could lead children to disordered eating.