May 30, 2023 -- More kids are getting surgical procedures to lose weight, according to a report published in JAMA Pediatrics on Tuesday.

Metabolic and bariatric surgeries have been on the rise among youth aged 10 to 19 since 2016, the report says. From 2020-21, the number shot up by 19%.

The procedures change parts of the digestive system, helping the person feel more full and less hungry – thereby contributing to weight loss.

Among American’s children, obesity affects 20% – or 15 million people between 2 and 19. In addition, more are becoming afflicted with severe obesity, with a body mass index 20% higher than the marker for obesity.

“Behavioral lifestyle interventions alone do not result in long-term, clinically important weight loss among youth with severe obesity,” the study’s authors wrote. “Metabolic and bariatric surgery (MBS) is a safe and effective treatment.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines for the treatment of obesity this year for the first time in 15 years, CNN reported. “The new guidelines urge prompt use of behavior therapy and lifestyle changes and, for the first time, recommend surgery and medications for some young people,” CNN wrote.

Black and Hispanic kids have higher rates of childhood obesity, the CDC says. Use of surgeries rose 42% among Black youth and 53% among Hispanic youth between 2020 and 2021.

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