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Sunday 25th August 2019

Childhood obesity has been underestimated

26th September 2012

A review of studies has raised new concerns about childhood obesity.


The work by researchers at Oxford University suggests that children who are obese may have an even higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other weight-related diseases later in life than had earlier been thought.

Experts now fear that earlier studies may have underestimated the effect of obesity during childhood and adolescence on later health.

The analysis focused on almost 50,000 children aged five to 15 in 63 studies between 2000 and 2011 and looked at weight and other risk factors.

It found that those who were overweight were more likely to have risk factors for heart disease and diabetes including high blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.

Researcher Claire Friedemann from Oxford University said: “Parents and health policymakers need to understand that obesity in childhood affects much more than appearance.

“Obesity affects a child’s health and puts them on a path for developing many health issues as they get older.”

The obese children also had higher levels of cholesterol and fat in the bloodstream, as measured by total cholesterol and triglycerides as well as raised levels of insulin and insulin resistance.

Writing in the journal BMJ, researchers Lee Hudson and Russell M. Viner, of London’s Institute of Child Health, stated: “The current review provides a stark illustration of the probable threat that childhood obesity poses.”

There are similar concerns in the US where the obesity rate among children has tripled since 1980 with some 17% of children and teens (or 12.5 million) classed as obese.


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