What We’re Reading: FDA Panel Suggests COVID-19 Vaccine Updates; BMI Insufficient as Health Measure; Teens Seek Obesity Treatments


Independent FDA panel advises that the next round of COVID-19 vaccines only target XBB strains; the American Medical Association (AMA) says that only using body mass index (BMI) is not enough to evaluate health; teens with severe obesity look to controversial surgery and weight-loss drugs.

FDA Panel Recommends COVID-19 Shot Updates

The independent panel responsible for making recommendations to the FDA about vaccines unanimously voted in favor of revising the next round of COVID-19 vaccines to protect against only the newer XBB strains, not the original Wuhan strain, reported The Hill. The FDA typically follows the committee's recommendations, but it is not mandated to do so.

AMA Says BMI Only Is Insufficient for Health Assessment

On Tuesday, the American Medical Association (AMA) elected to take up a new policy encouraging doctors to stop relying on body mass index (BMI), a commonly used measurement that may be misleading when used to assess an individual's weight and health, The New York Times reported. The policy formally recognizes the “historical harm” of BMI and says that the measurement has been used “for racist exclusion.” The new recommendation serves as a suggestion to providers, not a mandatory rule.

Teens With Severe Obesity Try Surgery, Drugs

The American Academy of Pediatrics set forth guidelines in January that suggest considering obesity drugs for children as young as 12 and surgery for those as young as 13, but the guidance was controversial from the start, according to the Associated Press. Some children have found success with such methods, AP reported, but the advocacy group Mental Health America says these guidelines could perpetuate stigma and increase eating disorders.

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