Pediatric Endocrinologist: Treatment of Severe Childhood Obesity Must Be Addressed

EMBARGOED UNTIL MAY 28, 2016 AT 11:30AM

Monday, May 23, 2016 5:24 pm EDT

Dateline:

Orlando, FL
"And while there is recent and promising data documenting the safety and longevity of currently available approaches to this problem, it is evident that more research is necessary for both prevention and treatment."

Although recent reports have suggested the childhood obesity epidemic has reached a plateau, a pediatric endocrinologist presented eye-opening evidence today illustrating the ongoing challenges the condition presents, particularly in preventing or reversing the condition in the severely obese pediatric population.

Dr. Ilene Fennoy, M.P.H., Medical Director of Columbia University Medical Center’s Center for Comprehensive Adolescent Bariatric Surgery, appeared in a “Meet-the-Experts” session at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) 25th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress to share scientific data indicating morbidly obese adolescents (ages 12 to 19) are not only at a higher risk of remaining obese as adults, but also for developing immediate and long-term obesity-related co-morbidities. Among them are insulin resistance/diabetes hypertension, metabolic syndrome, hyperlipidemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,  polycystic ovarian syndrome and premature death.

Outcomes for studies of treatment interventions were highlighted by Dr. Fennoy as well, including lifestyle changes incorporating increased physical activity and dietary modifications (i.e. low fat vs. low glycemic diet), pharmacological interventions and weight-loss surgery, each underscoring the need for more – and more effective – options.

For example, studies have demonstrated that diet and exercise interventions in severely obese children have a modest short-term impact on weight loss and co-morbidities, while only one medication is currently approved for the treatment of obesity in adolescents. Further, reports of long-term outcomes for adolescent weight-loss surgery are few, and many youth with severe obesity don’t qualify for surgery, or have limited access due to lack of insurance coverage.

“There is no question that this is a serious problem and it continues to grow,” said Dr. Fennoy. “And while there is recent and promising data documenting the safety and longevity of currently available approaches to this problem, it is evident that more research is necessary for both prevention and treatment.”

Severe obesity afflicts between 4% and 6% of all youth in the United States, and the prevalence is increasing.

 

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About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. A majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at www.aace.com.

About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)
The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, please visit www.aace.com/college.

Contact:

AACE
Mary Green, 904-353-7878 ext. 163
Asst. Director, Public Relations, Media and Creative
mgreen@aace.com
904-404-4223 (fax)