Can lifestyle modification help Sacramento's children from future obesity regardless of what they eat? In Sacramento and Davis local scientists in one study looked at how uncontrolled high blood pressure damages the brain in youth and middle age.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure damages the brain's structure and function as early as young middle-age, and even the brains of middle-aged people who clinically would not be considered to have hypertension have evidence of silent structural brain damage, a study led by researchers at UC Davis has found, according to a December 2012 UC Davis news release, "High blood pressure damages the brain in early middle age."
The investigation found accelerated brain aging among hypertensive and prehypertensive individuals in their 40s, including damage to the structural integrity of the brain's white matter and the volume of its gray matter, suggesting that vascular brain injury "develops insidiously over the lifetime with discernible effects."
The study is the first to demonstrate that there is structural damage to the brains of adults in young middle age as a result of high blood pressure, the authors said. Structural damage to the brain's white matter caused by high blood pressure previously has been associated with cognitive decline in older individuals.
Published online in the medical journal The Lancet Neurology, the study appeared in print in the December 2012 issue. It emphasized the need for lifelong attention to vascular risk factors for brain aging, said study senior author Charles DeCarli, professor of neurology and director of the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center, according to the news release. "The message here is really clear: People can influence their late-life brain health by knowing and treating their blood pressure at a young age, when you wouldn't necessarily be thinking about it," DeCarli says in the news release. "The people in our study were cognitively normal, so a lack of symptoms doesn't mean anything."
And according to another recent study performed by researchers at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Nursing, children who participated in an intensive lifestyle modification program significantly improved their metabolic and cardiovascular health with little weight loss. The results were consistent regardless of whether the children were a healthy weight or obese. The article recently is published online in the American Journal of Physiology
A UCLA School of Nursing study has found that both healthy-weight and obese children who participated in an intensive lifestyle modification program significantly improved their metabolic and cardiovascular health despite little weight loss.
"These findings suggest that short-term lifestyle modifications through changing diet and exercise can have an immediate impact on improving risk factors such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes," explains Christian Roberts, an associate research professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and the study's lead author, in the August 22, 2013 news release, UCLA Nursing study suggests focus on lifestyle changes -- not weight loss -- is key to kids' health. "This work underscores the need to focus on changing lifestyle as opposed to focusing on body weight and weight loss."
This study is believed to be the first to compare the effects of changing diet and exercise in both normal-weight and obese children.
Both groups of children participated in a two-week, residential lifestyle program consisting of daily exercise and a high-fiber, low-fat, plant-based diet. Contrary to conventional wisdom that the change would only impact the obese children, both groups of children improved cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk factors similarly as a result of the intervention.
"Even if individuals are at normal weight, they may have metabolic abnormalities and this study demonstrates that health status can be significantly improved by changing lifestyle habits," Roberts says in the news release. The next step for the researchers will be to perform a randomized control trial investigating the effects of lifestyle intervention in normal-weight and obese adults.
In the United States, 34 percent of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 are overweight or obese
Unhealthy lifestyle factors that begin in childhood, such as physical inactivity, lack of exercise training, and diets that are high in refined carbohydrates and fat, contribute to both the development of obesity and other chronic diseases. But it is unclear whether obesity itself or the associated lifestyle factors are underlying causes of cardiovascular and metabolic dysfunction and the related development of chronic disease.
The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. Study co-authors from UCLA were Ali Izadpanah, Siddhartha Angadi and R. James Barnard. You may also wish to take a look at the abstract of another recent study, "Long-term exposure to a high-fat diet results in the development of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance in interleukin-1 receptor I deficient mice."