Obesity in Children Update
The obesity epidemic in children resulting in type2 diabetes continues to grow and now there is a book about it by pediatrician Francine Kaufman from the Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles called “Diabesity”. The number of people with type2 diabetes worldwide was 150 million in 2000 and is expected to continue to rise dramatically. Children being brought into emergency rooms unconscious with high blood sugar levels, kids with acanthosis nigricans – a type of hyperpigmentation caused by insulin resistance – and even atherosclerosis are becoming more and more common.
In the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology Dr. Ana R. Damaso of the Federal University of Sao Paulo in Brazil reports that nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (fatty tissue build up in the liver) is also becoming more common in kids. In this study, 73 obese teenagers participated in a 12 week program that including learning about nutrition and exercise. Afterward it was found that the kids lost weight and had less fat around their livers.
Speaking of kids and liver problems – more data supporting the connection between obesity and sugar filled soft drinks is available now too. This time the effects of sugar sweetened water and mice were measured. It was found that the mice given sugary drinks ate less overall, but had a higher level of total calories and gained more weight. They also had more incidence of fatty liver disease. This was especially true when they were fed fructose. Think of all the high fructose corn syrup people have been consuming the last 30 or so years? What were people thinking when they starting selling soda anyway? Will soft drinks become the new cigarettes in our society? Once common, but now seen as a horrible health threat?
Education about nutrition and exercise seem like they might be keys to solving the problem. I don’t have kids, so I don’t know what is going on with schools now – but are they teaching anything about nutrition to kids?
On the other hand – Dr. Reid Ewing of the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth Education and Research recently had a study that shows kids that live in sprawling suburbs were over twice as likely to be overweight as those in urban areas. This study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and used government data from 8,984 kids aged 12 to 17 years. When race, income and education levels were taken into account more ‘sprawl’ still lead to a greater chance of being over weight.
And a new study to be published in Pediatrics shows that kids with better motor abilities tend to be more physically active. That’s no surprise – but school programs designed to increase physical activities in kids need to take this into consideration. Putting kids with less motor skills into competitive situations is hardly going to lead a lifetime of increased activity levels.
Another interesting story from Nature is the new theory of how different types of bacteria in different people’s gut may effect whether they are obese or thin. There are two groups of bacteria involved – the Bacteroidetes and the Firmicutes. It was found in both mice and people that the obese have less Bacteroidetes than thin individuals. When the obese lose weight – their Bacteroidetes levels rise. Definitely interesting stuff – a lot still to be understood about it.
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on December 22nd, 2006 at 11:41 am
“It was found that the mice given sugary drinks ate less overall, but had a higher level of total calories and gained more weight.”
That is really interesting! I guess it’s important to really monitor what you are eating. Personally I keep an eye on all sweeteners I ingest – not just sugar or just high fructose corn syrup, since both are sweeteners and are digested in the same way. A little goes a long way, in my opinion. Moderation is key.
on January 29th, 2007 at 9:55 pm
(You’re a hottie!)
Hey, kids should avoid HFCS. So should adults.