14.06.2024

Weight-loss jabs for children as young as 12 are being considered by ministers

Weight-loss jabs for children as young as 12 are being considered in a bid to drive down childhood obesity.

Ministers have asked medical regulators to assess the potential of giving semaglutide injections to obese children aged 12 to 17.

The weight loss drug, which works by suppressing the appetite, has recently been given the go-ahead for use in adults on the NHS.

But now officials have asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to consider its use, alongside a programme of diet and exercise, for obese teenagers, with a decision expected by early next year.

Experts suggest it could reduce the number of children being sent for invasive weight-loss surgery – but there are also fears it could lead to ‘over-medicating’ children.

The Mail on Sunday revealed growing numbers of children are being treated for high blood pressure, diabetes and knee problems (file image)

Trials of the drug in adults found those on it lost around 12 per cent of their body weight and slashed their chances of type 2 diabetes by more than half (file image)

Trials of the drug in adults found those on it lost around 12 per cent of their body weight and slashed their chances of type 2 diabetes by more than half (file image)

It comes after the Mail on Sunday revealed growing numbers of children are being treated for high blood pressure, diabetes and knee problems.

Trials of the drug in adults found those on it lost around 12 per cent of their body weight and slashed their chances of type 2 diabetes by more than half.

However more evidence is needed to understand the long-term risks and benefits for children.

But Professor Keith Godfrey, from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, told The Observer it risked ‘medicalising a whole generation’.

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