Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Childhood Obesity

I'm certain my local paper, The Oregonian, isn't the only paper to have reported on this, so it can't be news to everyone, but just in case....

Did you read about the report that links gestational diabetes with childhood obesity? No? Here it is:

We all know by now that childhood obesity - actually, obesity in general - is a growing trend. Some would even say epidemic. So a study was conducted and they found a strong, powerful link between mothers who had untreated gestational diabetes and the resulting children becoming obese by age 7. The figure the article/study quoted is 82%. Children of mothers who went untreated for gestational diabetes during their pregnancy were 82% more likely to be obese by age 7. They were 89% more likely to be overweight. That's huge!

The good news is that the study also discovered that that the children born to mothers who were treated for their gestational diabetes were no more likely to be overweight or obese than other children. Treatment/management is the key.
The lead researcher says that the study points to some change in the womb that alters the body's feast and famine triggers that regulate whether someone feels full or not. That causes the metabolism to slow down as the body stores fat. If the mother is treated, however, by eating a diabetic diet, exercise, and/or take insulin if necessary, the damage may be reversed.

The article claims that each year, roughly 4% of pregnant women get diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Given how fast our nation is reaching obesity levels, I'd say that likely means a whole lotta mothers are going untreated. The article says it's a vicious circle - we're getting fatter in general, which means there is more gestational diabetes as result, and more gestational diabetes means more predispositions to obesity, and so on. But knowing how critical it is to manage gestational diabetes and what the future health impact it could have on the child, this could go a long way in helping to curb or reduce childhood obesity.

That's good - whatever can be done should be done to prevent kids from getting fat. Of course, ensuring your children eat healthy foods, stay active, and don't overeat after they are born goes a long way to contributing to their overall health and well being, and preventing them from becoming overweight or obese. Good parenting starts in the womb.

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