American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition
October 31, 2019
5 min watch

VIDEO: Bariatric surgery can address severe obesity epidemic

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NEW ORLEANS — The AAP issued a policy statement and technical report aimed at improving access to metabolic and bariatric surgery for young patients with severe obesity.

The authors highlighted the role that pediatricians, the government, health and academic medical centers and public and private insurers play in providing care for pediatric and adolescent patients with obesity who qualify for the procedures.

According to Sarah C. Armstrong, MD, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement and member of the executive committee of the AAP Section on Obesity, children with severe obesity are more likely to develop diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and other adverse health outcomes related to obesity at a younger age.

“What we want to make clear is that the academy continues to recommend behavioral modification for children and to support policy changes that help all children have access to healthy food and physical activity,” she told Infectious Diseases in Children. “However, what we know is that this epidemic of obesity, which affects currently 12 million children in our country, has begun to worsen among a subset of them.”

Armstrong said 4 million children with obesity in the United States have severe obesity — what she called “an epidemic within an epidemic.”


Armstrong SC, et al. Pediatrics. 2019;doi:10.1542/peds.2019-3223.

Disclosure: Armstrong reports no relevant financial disclosures.