BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — An LSU alumna who works at Pennington Biomedical co-authored the first comprehensive guideline on treating childhood obesity in 15 years.

Director of Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory Dr. Amanda Staiano co-authored the guideline and served as a second author of two appraisals that provided evidence, according to Pennington.

“These guidelines are a game changer to provide comprehensive, evidence-based medical care to children with obesity,” Staiano said. “Obesity treatment is safe and effective, and I’m proud to be part of the team that reviewed over 30 years of scientific evidence that support these guidelines. Treatment should begin early and at the highest intensity necessary, which may include intensive health behavior and lifestyle treatment, pharmacotherapy and metabolic and bariatric surgery.”

Pennington Executive Director Dr. John Kirwan said he’s proud of Staiano’s work, adding that the new guideline will help treat childhood obesity more effectively.

Fourteen million children in the United States are affected by obesity — and it is “one of the most common pediatric chronic diseases,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics guideline.

The guideline states that obesity in children is a result of multiple factors, including socioecological, environmental and genetic.

Childhood obesity may have worsened because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.