Researchers at UCLA have studied childhood obesity and found that obese children carry larger risks than thought to be. The findings of this study are published in latest issue of the journal Academic pediatrics.
The scientists looked at studying obesity among children and its effect on their children as there has been a dramatic rise in obesity among children in recent times. There is also a significant rise in the number of childhood-related ailments – both physical and mental, among them. The study was conducted by Dr. Neal Halfon, the lead author. It comprised of data obtained from 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health where 43,300 children were analyzed. The sample size belonged to the age group 10 to 17 years. They were assessed for
- Weight status
- 21 general health indicators
- Health disorders
- Psychological and social functioning
Based on their BMI ratings, 15% were considered overweight and 16% as obese.
Results of the Study
The data was subjected to statistical analysis and it was found that those children classified as obese reported poor health as compared to their overweight counterparts. They also showed greater disability, behavioral and emotional problems, developmental delays, bone and muscle problems, and also prone to allergies and asthma among many other conditions. In totum, obese and overweight children were 1.3 times more prone to physical and behavioral problems than the normal children.
The authors of this research are of the opinion that this shift in chronic childhood ailments is the result of unrecorded changes in the socioeconomic conditions that have taken place in the past 2 decades. Hence, they suggest that today’s children should be screened for co-morbid conditions and treated or managed as per the assessments. A simple way to understand this is like this: exposure to toxic chemicals in the surroundings has an effect on the neuroregulatory process and leads to behavioral conditions such as ADHD and leptin sensitivity causing obesity among such children. Like this there may be many other combinations giving rise to health conditions and obesity as well.
So, in effect, the socio economic changes in the modern world are the key to understanding obesity and health conditions in children. Such studies would come out with new drug development and management techniques.