Thursday November 22, 2018

Obesity may affect a child’s liver

Children with a bigger waist circumference (a measure of abdominal obesity) at age three and those with greater gains in obesity measures

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Obesity, Asthma
Asthma may up obesity risk. Pixabay
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Parents take note. If your child is obese or overweight, it may have negative impact on his or her liver, a new study suggests. The study found that bigger waist circumference at the age of three raises the likelihood that by the time the child is eight years old, he or she will have markers for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease occurs when too much fat accumulates in the liver and triggers inflammation, causing liver damage.

“With the rise in childhood obesity, we are seeing more kids with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in our paediatric weight management practice,” said lead author Jennifer Woo Baidal, Assistant Professor at Columbia University.

A new type of skin patch that may reduce body: study
Children are falling prey to obesity. Wikimedia Commons

“Many parents know that obesity can lead to Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions, but there is far less awareness that obesity, even in young children, can lead to serious liver disease,” Baidal added. For the study, published in the Journal of Paediatrics, the researchers looked for fatty liver risk factors in younger children.

The researchers measured blood levels of a liver enzyme called ALT — elevated ALT is a marker for liver damage and can occur in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and other conditions that affect the liver — in 635 children. The researchers found that by the age eight, 23 per cent of children in the study had elevated ALT levels. Children with a bigger waist circumference (a measure of abdominal obesity) at age three and those with greater gains in obesity measures between ages three and eight were more likely to have elevated ALT. Approximately 35 per cent of eight-year-olds with obesity had elevated ALT versus 20 per cent of those with normal weight, the researcher said.

Also Read: How Gut Bacteria May Increase Obesity Risk

“Some clinicians measure ALT levels in at-risk children starting at around 10 years old, but our findings underscore the importance of acting earlier in a child’s life to prevent excess weight gain and subsequent liver inflammation,” Baidal said. IANS

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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)