A new study has demonstrated a new risk for obese teens. The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center presented their research at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Society in Vancouver, including their findings that severely obese teens were at high risk of being nutritionally deficient. In addition childhood obesity correlates with attention-deficit /hyperactivity disorder, learning disorders, and academic under-performance as well as increased internalizing and externalizing disorders.
The study compared 79 obese teens who had weight loss surgery compared to those did not have surgery, and determined low iron, low vitamin D levels and low levels of protein in their blood. The patients were medically evaluated between 2001 and 2007 and contacted to participate in the study between 2011 and 2014.
“We knew there were nutritional difficulties in teens who had undergone bariatric surgery, but everyone thought it was primarily the surgery that caused these problems since gastric bypass excludes the portion of the small intestine where many nutrients, especially iron, are most absorbed,” said Stavra Xanthakos, MD, medical director the Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens at Cincinnati Children’s and a co-author of the study. “What this shows us is that nutritional deficiencies occur even in teens who don’t undergo surgery. Severely obese patients should be screened for nutritional deficiencies, regardless of whether they’ve undergone weight loss surgery.”
Kistopher Kaliebe, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine, has offered parents and caregivers a simple solution to overcome adolescent obesity. His research is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It involves family orientated goals setting limits to address the brain’s “get more” drive strengthened through habitual over-consumption of temptations including highly caloric processed food, hyper-reality media and electronics, as well as excessive sitting.
The three rules promote physical and mental health for children and parents and include the following:
1. Eat Food in small portions and include plants and vegetables. Eating natural, unprocessed, raw food eliminates the constant need to calculate calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, vitamins and advises severely restricting foods like chips, sodas and fast food.
2. Get Up and Move.
3. Honor Silence. Dr. Kaliebe specified that sensory overload and “noise” from popular culture, gaming, advertising, media and electronics crowds out important things such as family matters, academics, sleep, and the development of other interests.
“The pediatric obesity crisis arose from systemic changes in society and multiple dynamic interacting risk factors,” said Dr. Kaliebe. “It has been paralleled by increased mental health problems that seem interrelated.”
“Moreover, many behavior patterns associated with obesity, such as sedentary lifestyles, excessive media exposure, and inappropriate diets, also correlate with a psychiatric diagnosis or psychological distress,” said Dr. Kaliebe.
Kristopher Kaliebe. Rules of Thumb: Three Simple Ideas for Overcoming the Complex Problem of Childhood Obesity. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2014; 53 (4): 385 DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2013.12.016
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “Risk of nutritional deficiencies in obese teens.”