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New childhood obesity guidelines explained: Mom Squad with 3News' Maureen Kyle

Cleveland Clinic Children's pediatric endocrinologist Doctor Roy Kim talks about the latest recommendations.

CLEVELAND — Earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out with new guidelines and recommendations when it comes to childhood obesity treatment. Since then, there's been some confusion and controversy. Doctors now recommend medications for kids as young as 12. And, teens over the age of 13 are eligible for surgery.

In today's Mom Squad, we talk to Cleveland Clinic Children's pediatric endocrinologist Doctor Roy Kim about why they moved away from the "wait and see if they outgrow it" approach.

“In the last 10 years, as these medicines have become available for adults, we've had nothing to offer children between healthy lifestyle and then surgery. And now, with new discoveries and research focused on the Pediatric and Adolescent population, more of these agents are being found to be safe and effective,” explains Kim.

He describes it as a great step forward in treatment. In terms of offering surgery, Kim reiterates this would be an option for extreme cases in teens.

“Our field has a pretty clear criteria as far as the severity of obesity in terms of what the body mass index is. And also a requirement that a child not only have a high body weight, but also be suffering from complications of obesity, and these can occur in children and adolescents just like they do in adults,” says Kim.

In many kids, genetic factors or environmental factors contribute to their obesity. So, it’s not as easy for them to change with diet and lifestyle adjustments.

Cleveland Clinic Children's dietitian, Jen Hyland, shows us ways to achieve the right portion control for food groups and some ideas for fast and healthy meals.

“To start building your plate, you want to make sure it's not predominantly just one food group. I like to tell people, 'I don't want you eating an entire plate of spaghetti, but I also don't want you eating just a salad for your meal.' You have to get multiple food groups in there; you need to get that nutrient balance,” says Hyland.

You can see the entire conversation on our WKYC plus channel. It's available on Roku and Fire TV. If you don't have those, watch it on our WKYC YouTube page or below.    


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