Sign In
  • ENG

Childhood obesity: Junk food may not be the only culprit

According to researchers, childhood obesity is increasing at a 2.3 per cent rate each year among school-aged children. © Shutterstock

It is absolutely true that a high calorie intake and junk food addiction are among the leading causes of obesity. But a new study says that this condition may be due to another reason.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Published : October 31, 2019 8:53 PM IST

According to a new study at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Centre, gut bacteria and its interactions with immune cells and metabolic organs, including fat tissue, play a key role in childhood obesity. Researchers say that this is contrary to what was previously believed. The medical community were unanimous in their belief till a few years back that obesity was a result of consuming too many calories. They also add that a series of studies over the past decade say that the microbes living in your gut not only have an association with obesity but are also one of the causes of the condition.

Researchers arrived at this conclusion by looking at existing studies on how the interaction between gut microbiome and immune cells can be passed from mother to baby as early as gestation. This can contribute to childhood obesity. Researchers also analysed how a mother's health, diet, exercise level, antibiotic use, birth method (natural or Caesarean), and feeding method (formula or breast milk) can affect the risk of obesity in her children. They say that having a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiome and obesity in both mothers and their children will help scientists design more successful preventive and therapeutic strategies to check the rise of obesity in children.

The journal Obesity Reviews published this study.

Also Read

More News

Growing trend of obesity among kids dangerous: Researchers

Childhood obesity is a global phenomenon today. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, US, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s. This is reason enough for serious concern as this can affect a whole generation. According to researchers, childhood obesity is increasing at a 2.3 per cent rate each year among school-aged children. This is unacceptably high and points at worrisome prospects for the next generation's health, they added.

Causes of childhood obesity

There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity. Lack of exercise and unhealthy food habits are the main reasons behind these. But genes may also play a role. In some cases, it may be the result of an underlying medical condition like hormonal imbalance.

Risks of being an obese child

Children who are obese are at risk of developing serious health problems later on in life. Excess body weight can increase your child's risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes, orthopaedic problems and also skin disorders.

How to deal with childhood obesity

It is extremely important to prevent childhood obesity. If your kid is obese, take action immediately because his health depends on it. Start by getting your child interested in a healthy and nutritious diet. Teach him the importance of eating healthy meals. Make him exercise. Take him to the park, encourage him to join other children and participate in sports. Restrict his screen time as this is one of the main reasons why he is stuck to the couch. The best way to encourage your kid to be healthy is by being fit yourself. Lead by example. Your child will soon follow in your footsteps.

Total Wellness is now just a click away.

Follow us on