Saturday, September 8, 2012

Can Childhood Obesity Hinder the Brain?

New study shows children who are overweight or obese may face problems with brain development, especially if they have risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of problems that set the stage for diabetes and heart disease.

Risks for metabolic syndrome include:

  • Belly fat
  • High levels of blood fats called triglycerides
  • Insulin resistance or prediabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Low level of "good" HDL cholesterol
Researcher Antonio Convit, MD, says the bottom line is, "We are seeing brain changes in kids with metabolic syndrome and we don't know if this is reversible."

Children with metabolic syndrome scored 10% lower on mental tasks that are important for learning, he says. The findings appear in Pediatrics.

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