Obese children may now be allowed to have surgery and medications as part of their treatment for their condition.

The updated American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for the treatment of obesity in children and adolescents now includes provisions for surgery and medications for some young people.

Published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, the comprehensive update shed light on other treatment options aside from behavior and lifestyle changes that are typically recommended for younger patients struggling with obesity.

For kids 12 years and above, the use of weight loss medications is now deemed appropriate. But it should go hand in hand with health behavior therapy and lifestyle treatment.

Teens 13 and above will have the option to undergo weight loss surgery, but only after a thorough evaluation of their condition, as per the guidelines.

The longstanding practice in this area of medicine used to be “watchful waiting.” This involved delaying treatment for the young patients while monitoring if they would outgrow or overcome obesity on their own as they age, the Associated Press reported.

Based on the latest figures, childhood obesity in the United States has tripled over the past three decades, with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reporting that one out of six children in the country is obese.

When left untreated, obesity could lead to lifelong health problems. Overweight children who grow up to be obese people tend to develop serious health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and depression.”

Speaking of the changes made to the guidelines, Dr. Sandra Hassink, the vice chair of the academy’s Clinical Practice Guideline Subcommittee on Obesity said these would lead to a more sustainable solution in the long run.

“There is no evidence that ‘watchful waiting’ or delayed treatment is appropriate for children with obesity. The goal is to help patients make changes in lifestyle, behaviors, or environment in a way that is sustainable and involves families in decision-making at every step of the way,” Hassink explained in a statement to CNN.

The updated guidelines do not include discussions on obesity prevention in children. The academy said it would address this in another policy statement coming soon.