The most stringent guidelines to date for combating childhood obesity recommend yearly weight checks and possibly even medication or surgery for kids who can't combat the condition on their own, USA Today reports. Doctors should also keep normal-weight kids apprised of the ins and outs of healthy living, a panel of medical experts said in a report out today.
"Lots of parents and doctors are frustrated because there are no specific guidelines for treating overweight children," said one specialist. About 17% of American kids are obese, triple the rate in 1970, but little progress toward systematic diagnosis has been made. The new guidelines are much stricter than the 1998 version: They advocate an hour of daily exercise and limiting sugary beverages, fast food, and TV time.