New Treatments on the Horizon as TOS Recognizes National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Obesity in pediatric patients is a serious disease with one in five children living with the condition. Compared with children with normal weight, children who are overweight or who have obesity are at higher risk for heart disease and diabetes, among other comorbidities; in addition to continuing into adulthood with obesity. However, new treatment options are on the horizon as The Obesity Society (TOS) recognizes National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September.
"While prevention efforts are of continued importance, treatment options need to be implemented in children and adolescents with obesity and severe obesity. Biologically-based treatment approaches of medications and bariatric surgery in conjunction with lifestyle modification are most likely to be effective as long-term obesity solutions in children and adolescents with obesity," said Justin Ryder, PhD, chair of the TOS Pediatric Obesity Section, and assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis.
According to a June 2022 report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a supplemental indication for Qsymia (phentermine and topiramate extended-release capsules) for chronic weight management in pediatric patients aged 12 years and older with obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 95th percentile or greater when standardized for age and sex. Experts note that Qsymia should be used as additional therapy when combined with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Liraglutide is another option for weight management in adolescents with obesity, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2020. In this randomized, double-blind trial, which consisted of a 56-week treatment period and a 26-week follow-up period, adolescents 12 to less than 18 years of age with obesity and a poor response to lifestyle therapy alone were enrolled. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either Liraglutide (3.0 mg) or placebo subcutaneously once daily, in addition to lifestyle therapy. The primary end point was the change from baseline in the BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters standard-deviation score at week 56. Results showed Liraglutide was superior to placebo with regard to the change from baseline in the BMI standard-deviation score at week 56.
In a review published in July 2018, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Pediatric Committee updated their evidence-based guidelines published in 2012, performing a comprehensive literature search from 2009-2017 with more than 1,300 articles and other supporting evidence through February 2018. The review found metabolic and bariatric surgery is safe and effective in adolescents; given the higher risk of adult obesity that develops in childhood, metabolic and bariatric surgery should not be withheld from adolescents when severe comorbidities, such as depressed health-related quality of life score, type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis exist. The review authors noted that early intervention can reduce the risk of persistent obesity as well as end organ damage from long-standing comorbidities.
"Treatment of pediatric obesity will require all options to be on the table for practitioners and families. These include lifestyle modification, medications and surgery. Lifestyle modification serves as the backbone of all therapy, but as a sole treatment is not as effective as medications and surgery, which treat the biology of obesity. Medications are developing at a fast pace with recent FDA approval of one new medication and two other medications on the horizon. These medications work to suppress appetite and help people eat less food. Surgery is an option for adolescents who qualify and has excellent long-term outcomes," said Ryder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joins TOS in recognizing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. During September, TOS will highlight its patient information pages for healthcare providers on its website and resources from the CDC. Social media posts will be featured throughout the month of September on the Society's Facebook and Twitter pages. CDC will be releasing its annual Adult Obesity Maps this month, emphasizing the need for childhood obesity prevention and treatment such as U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended Family Healthy Weight Programs. TOS member and non-member communications will feature pediatric obesity sessions scheduled for the Society's annual meeting at ObesityWeek®. A virtual thematic journal will feature a select number of articles from the Society's flagship journal, Obesity.
The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects. Combining the perspective of researchers, clinicians, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information, visit www.obesity.org.
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SOURCE The Obesity Society