According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of US children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. The UCLA Center for Human Nutrition is actively engaged in the war against obesity. On February 20, the center announced that it was seeking overweight teens for a food craving study.
The investigators are studying food cravings in teenagers to see if there is a specific gene
associated with food addiction. They explain that a better understanding of the genetics of food cravings and related eating habits may lead to ways to help individuals more effectively lose weight. “Obesity is a major public health issue in the United States and many diseases including
hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and non-alcoholic fatty liver could be prevented if we had better strategies to decrease obesity rates,” noted study researcher Dr. Joanna Yeh, Pediatric Gastroenterology Fellow, in the Department of Pediatrics, Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.
The study will be conducted at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. During the first
visit, the participants will complete a questionnaire, have height and weight taken and a
blood sample drawn for genetic analysis. Volunteers will also have their percent body
fat, lean body mass, and basal metabolic rate measured. In addition, the volunteers will be observed eating in a laboratory setting. “We hope that this study may help pave the way for future research into treating food addiction,” noted study investigator, Dr. Zhaoping Li, professor of clinical medicine and associate director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.
The study is funded by funds from the UCLA Department of Medicine, Center for
Human Nutrition. For more information, please call the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition at (310) 206-8292.
As previously noted, according to the latest CDC survey, approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of US children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese.
- Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled.
- There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity prevalence among U.S. children and adolescents. In 2007—2008, Hispanic boys, aged 2 to 19 years,were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys, and non-Hispanic black girls were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls.
- Obesity rates among low-income preschool children (Data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System):
- One of seven low-income, preschool-aged children is obese.
- County obesity rates are variable within states. Even states with the lowest prevalence of obesity have counties where many low-income children are obese and at risk for chronic disease.