Sunday, June 24, 2012

Childhood obesity -- what are the health risks?

It is widely suspected that the current wave of obesity among children will result in greater rates of cardiovascular disease and diabetes over the next few decades. But a second systematic review of research into childhood obesity and metabolic disease in adult life has shown there is little evidence of a direct link and suggests that treating obesity during childhood will remove any risk of lasting harm.


This new study, and the second of its kind carried out by nutrition experts at The University of Nottingham, has strengthened their original findings that we could in fact be more at risk of health problems if we are lean as children and become obese as adults. Unexpectedly the work suggests that there could even be a slight protective effect if we are overweight as children and reduce our Body Mass Index (BMI) in adulthood.

The research, funded by the Organix Foundation, and published online in the International Journal of Obesity, warns that as a result dieticians and nutritionists are missing an important at-risk group.

This second review has been performed by Louise Lloyd, a graduate student in nutrition, Dr Sarah McMullen, lecturer in Human Nutrition, and Professor Simon Langley-Evans, Chair in Human Nutrition, all based in the Division of Nutritional Sciences (School of Biosciences). The Division carries out research which focuses on the basis of the individual response to diet, development and ageing.

Their review shows that previous studies suggesting that childhood obesity permanently raises risk of disease failed to take into account adult BMI. As a result, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate links with long term-risk which are independent of adult BMI.



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Childhood obesity -- what are the health risks?

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