New recommendations suggest more parents and doctors should consider weight loss surgery for children.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said this week the surgery is safe for children and teens and should be accessible for families who need it.
We met up with Dr. Faisal Qureshi, Associate Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Director of the Surgical Weight Loss Program at Children's Health in Dallas.
He says only about 2,000 children and teens in the United States get bariatric surgery every year, even though he says it's safe for children who are severely obese.
Severely obese usually describes children who are more than twice the weight they should be at their age and height.
Weight loss surgery for children and teens requires more intervention. He says Psychiatrists, cardiologists, nutritionists and other specialties should all be involved.
"We also have to see what kind of family structure they have. Do they have a supportive family because this is a change in their ability to eat and process food, so the family really has to be supportive of them," said Dr. Qureshi.
In published studies, young patients maintained a more healthy weight up to seven years after surgery.
He says health insurance has covered the patients in their program.