Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
About 5 percent of U.S. children and teens are "severely obese" - a newly defined class of risk, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online in the journal Circulation.
"Severe obesity in young people has grave health consequences," said Aaron Kelly, Ph.D., lead author of the statement and a researcher at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. "It's a much more serious childhood disease than obesity."
While childhood obesity rates are starting to level off, severe obesity has increased, Kelly said.
Severely obese children have higher rates of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues at younger ages, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and early signs of atherosclerosis - the disease process that clogs arteries.
Treatment options for children with this level of obesity are limited, as most standard approaches to weight loss are insufficient for them.
The statement defines children over age 2 as severely obese if they either have a body mass index (BMI) that's at least 20 percent higher than the 95th percentile for their gender and age, or a BMI score of 35 or higher. A child in the 95th percentile weighs more than 95 percent of other children of the same gender and age.
BMI is a measurement based on weight and height. Age- and gender-specific growth charts are used to calculate BMI for children. Children at the 95th BMI percentile or higher are obese, and those between the 85th and 95th percentiles are overweight.
A 7-year-old girl of average height weighing 75 pounds, or a 13-year-old boy of average height weighing 160 pounds, would be defined as severely obese.
Most experts recommend a step-wise approach for treating severely obese children, with treatment getting gradually more intensive from lifestyle changes, to medication and potentially surgery.
"But the step from lifestyle change and medication to surgery is unacceptably large because weight loss surgery isn't appropriate for or available to all severely obese children," Kelly said.
The statement calls for "innovative approaches to fill the gap between lifestyle/medication and surgery."
The statement suggests ways to close the gap, including:
Statement co-authors are Sarah Barlow, M.D., M.P.H.; Goutham Rao, M.D.; Thomas Inge, M.D., Ph.D.; Laura Hayman, Ph.D., R.N.; Julia Steinberger, M.D., M.S.; Elaine Urbina, M.D., M.S.; Linda Ewing, Ph.D., R.N.; and Stephen Daniels, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Obesity / Weight Loss / Fitness category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
American Heart Association. "5 percent of US children, teens classified as 'severely obese'." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Sep. 2013. Web.
9 Dec. 2013. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265929>
American Heart Association. (2013, September 12). "5 percent of US children, teens classified as 'severely obese'." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact the our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/265929.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2013 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.