From Those in the Know about Childhood Obesity

obesityThis post is about the long-lasting effects of childhood obesity.

The first of two reports is from MedlinePlus,  a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine NIH National Institutes of Health. The second report is from HealthDay News, which recently was posted on, Dept of Health and Human Services.

MedlinePlus Report: As reported by Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV on Childhood Obesity and Adult Hypertension

Being a heavy child may have long lasting impact. In fact, new research suggests it may quadruple your risk for high blood pressure as an adult.

Starting back in 1986, researchers in Indiana began tracking the growth and blood pressure of over 1,100 healthy adolescents. Over the 27 years, they were able to accumulate a vast amount of data. 6% of normal weight children had high blood pressure as adults. While 14% of overweight children developed high blood pressure. But the big news was the 26% of obese children ending up with high blood pressure as adults.

The researchers believe these findings add more evidence that being overweight or obese in childhood is a true public health threat.

Highlights of HealthDay News Report on Childhood Obesity and Adolescent Eating Disorders:

Obese children and teens who lose weight are in danger of developing eating disorders — including anorexia and bulimia.

These problems may not be diagnosed quickly, because parents and doctors “think it’s a good thing that these teens have lost so much weight,” said lead researcher Leslie Sim, an assistant professor of psychology and an eating disorders expert at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minn.

“We started to see kids coming into our clinic with severe eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, where you lose a lot of weight and restrict your eating, and these kids actually started out as obese,” she said.

“They lost way too much weight and became preoccupied with their eating,” Sim said. “Every thought and behavior really surrounded eating.”

“We think obese kids are at risk for eating disorders because they are getting a lot of media messages that they are not healthy and that there is something wrong with them and they need to change their ways,” Sim said. “And because they are teens, they do extreme things. Weight loss is not that typical for adolescents,” Sim said. “I think parents should be concerned with any weight loss,” she added.

“When parents see their children losing weight, they should ask about their eating habits and whether they are skipping meals or avoiding friends, as these may be signs of an eating disorder,”  Sim said. “At least 6 percent of teens suffer from eating disorders.”

“The study highlighted many important messages, ” said Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “Obesity itself is a risk factor for eating disorders. This link is well established for binge-eating disorder, where obesity is potentially both cause and effect.”

“Effective treatment of obesity cannot simply be about weight loss — it must be about the pursuit of health,” Katz said. “An emphasis on healthful behaviors is a tonic against both obesity and eating disorders. By placing an emphasis on diet and activity patterns for health and by focusing on strategies that are family based, we can address risk factors for both eating disorders and obesity.”


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