Childhood obesity linked to more immediate health problems than previously thought
While a great deal of research on childhood obesity has spotlighted the long-term health problems that emerge in adulthood, a new UCLA study focuses on the condition's immediate consequences and shows that obese youngsters are at far greater risk than had been supposed.
Compared to kids who are not overweight, obese children are at nearly twice the risk of having three or more reported medical, mental or developmental conditions, the UCLA researchers found. Overweight children had a 1.3 times higher risk.
"This study paints a comprehensive picture of childhood obesity, and we were surprised to see just how many conditions were associated with childhood obesity," said lead author Dr. Neal Halfon, a professor of pediatrics, public health and public policy at UCLA, where he directs the Center for Healthier Children, Families and Communities. "The findings should serve as a wake-up call to physicians, parents and teachers, who should be better informed of the risk for other health conditions associated with childhood obesity so that they can target interventions that can result in better health outcomes."
With the dramatic rise in childhood obesity over the past two decades, there has been a parallel rise in the prevalence of other childhood-onset health conditions, such as attention deficit–hyperactivity disorder, asthma and learning disabilities. But previous studies on the topic have been limited due to a narrow focus on a specific region of the county, a small sample size or a single condition.
The new UCLA research, a large population-based study of children in the United States, provides the first comprehensive national profile of associations between weight status and a broad set of associated health conditions, or co-morbidities, that kids suffer from during childhood.
Overall, the researchers found, obese children were more likely than those who were classified as not overweight to have reported poorer health; more disability; a greater tendency toward emotional and behavioral problems; higher rates of grade repetition, missed school days and other school problems; ADHD; conduct disorder; depression; learning disabilities; developmental delays; bone, joint and muscle problems; asthma; allergies; headaches; and ear infections.
For the study, the researchers used the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, analyzing data on nearly 43,300 children between the ages 10 and 17. They assessed associations between weight status and 21 indicators of general health, psychosocial functioning and specific health disorders, adjusting for sociodemographic factors.
Of the children in the study, 15 percent were considered overweight (a body mass index between the 85th and 95th percentiles), and 16 percent were obese (a BMI in the 95th percentile or higher).
The study, which is currently available online, will be published in the January–February print issue of the journal Academic Pediatrics.
The UCLA researchers speculate that the ongoing shift in chronic childhood conditions is likely related to decades of underappreciated changes in the social and physical environments in which children live, learn and play. They propose that obesity-prevention efforts should target these social and environmental influences and that kids should be screened and managed for the co-morbid conditions.
The researchers add that while the strength of the current study lies in its large population base, future studies need to examine better longitudinal data to tease out causal relationships that cannot be inferred from a cross-sectional study.
"Obesity might be causing the co-morbidity, or perhaps the co-morbidity is causing obesity—or both might be caused by some other unmeasured third factor," Halfon said. "For example, exposure to toxic stress might change the neuroregulatory processes that affect impulse control seen in ADHD, as well as leptin sensitivity, which can contribute to weight gain. An understanding of the association of obesity with other co-morbidities may provide important information about causal pathways to obesity and more effective ways to prevent it."
Journal reference: Academic Pediatrics
Provided by University of California, Los Angeles
- Is there a link between obesity, chronic illness and bullying? Jul 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Research supports role of BMI in incident asthma in children Nov 20, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- School climate can affect overweight children for life Apr 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood obesity increases likelihood of a cranial disorder that may cause blindness May 24, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Childhood obesity linked to math performance, researcher says Jun 14, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Calculating Steam Pressure in Closed Container
3 hours ago I am trying to calculate the volume of liquid water i need to place in a sealed container in order to obtain 10 psi of steam pressure in that closed...
Learning curve of Electromagnetism?
9 hours ago I'm taking a first year physics course and have been having a little trouble with the basics of newtons laws and forces and whatnot, though nothing...
thin glass in liquid
9 hours ago I have one question about optics because I start interested in it. If an object is placed a distance p from a thin glass lens (index of refraction...
How many joules expended for a push up?
12 hours ago Just wondering if any of you can do the calculation that well approximates the amount of joules expended by a push up.
force to keep the folding doors
12 hours ago Hello, I would like to ask you to calculate the force F, which needed to keep the folding doors in this position. I would like to know what is the...
Confusion regarding direction of kinetic friction on inclined plane.
13 hours ago *please help! * The formula for kinetic friction acting on a sliding body is μkN When the body is sliding with constant velocity down an...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Leeds has shown that very young children appear to reject story book characters who are overweight, but not those who are disabled.
Overweight and Obesity May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 2
(HealthDay)—Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations—so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Overweight and Obesity May 15, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Drinking 500 ml of purified water is not associated with increases in resting energy expenditure (REE), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity, ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 1
(HealthDay)—Reviews that are funded by industry tend to find the evidence weak for a causal link between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and the increasing prevalence of obesity, while other reviews consider ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
10 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
20 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
21 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0