Scientists uncover the complexities surrounding childhood obesity

In a recent study, scientists unravel the reasons, outcome and effects of childhood obesity

As per statistical data, obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Every year there is a significant increment in the number of people affected by obesity. It is one of the most serious health problems of the 21st century and poses serious risks to the mortality of humans.

As per WHO’s data, in 2016 the number of overweight children under the age of five was estimated to be over 41 million. Almost half of all overweight children under the age of 5 lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood and more prone to develop health diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at an early stage of life.

Now, in a recent study, research conducted by the scientists from the University of Notre Dam have examined and revealed the psychological characteristics that interfere with the nutritional value in children. Loneliness, shyness and anxiety of obese children combine with alike characters of their family dynamics affect the end product of the nutritional intervention.

Scientists uncover the complexities surrounding childhood obesity.
Picture: TOI

The lead researcher Nitesh Chawla talking about it said that psychological characteristics clearly have interactions effects on children that affect their nutritional intervention and thereby the health. Those characteristics can no longer be viewed and assessed as individual factors. “We need to account for the specific characteristics for each child, viewing them as a holistic set for which to plan treatment,” he said in his concluding statement.

The study was conducted by the researchers by analysing the psychological assessments and medical records of 1500+ children that participated in the program.

According to the researchers, nutritional interventions could be improved by strong family dynamics which include concern for behaviour and treatment, and a sense of protectiveness for the child.