The childhood obesity epidemic is generally perceived as affecting children with less severe degrees of overweight and obesity and that the extremely obese child is a rare case. However, extreme obesity is rapidly increasing in children and is associated with significant co morbidities, emotional problems, and social marginalization. With no end in sight, the obesity epidemic will continue to impact millions of families and children. The problem is best been described by one expert as follows: “4% of US children can be categorized with extreme obesity, and that 4% of those US children with extreme obesity is a number greater than the total number of US children currently affected with cancer, cystic fibrosis, HIV and juvenile diabetes combined. There are few resources available for parents of extremely obese children. Physicians and families need help interpreting the complex science and technological advances oriented information available in accessible understandable language. Let's learn to talk about this issue with compassion and empathy.
As more and more children are diagnosed with Category One and Category Two obesity and the evidence supporting surgical treatments and pharmacotherapy for weight management in children is strengthened, clinicians are facing difficult decisions about the appropriate role intensive weight management treatments should have in the pediatric population.
Quite simply, clinicians need training and support in working and communicating with parents to respond and care most effectively for children with obesity.