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Watch the trend toward belly fat on kids with the genetic tendency to develop it

Measuring waist circumference would improve the detection of children and adolescents with cardiometabolic risk. Although abdominal obesity has increased greatly in recent years among children and adolescents, this indicator is not used in clinical practice

Belly fat on kids with the genetic tendency to develop it.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You can check out the article, "Prevalence of abdominal obesity in Spanish children and adolescents. Do we need waist circumference measurements in pediatric practice?" The authors are Helmut Schröder, Lourdes Ribas, Corinna Koebnick, Anna Funtikova, Santiago F. Gomez , Montserat Fíto, Carmen Perez-Rodrigo and Lluis Serra-Majem. The research is published online since January 27, 2014 in the journal PlosOne.

A recent study led by researchers from IMIM Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute and published yesterday in the journal PlosOne concludes that including waist circumference measurements in clinical practice, together with the traditional height and weight measurements, would make it easier to detect children and adolescents with cardiometabolic risk, for example, those with a higher predisposition to suffer from arteriosclerosis or type 2 diabetes.

This study is the first of its kind in Spain on abdominal obesity in children and adolescents, one of the most important risk factors associated to this disorder, which has increased in recent years

Researchers analysed data from 1521 Spanish children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 that participated in the ENKID study on nutrition and dietary habits and measured the proportion of abdominal obesity both in children and adolescents with a normal weight and those who were overweight. To do this they measured the waist circumference and height, known as the waist-to-height ratio, an indicator that is totally independent from age and gender, which estimates that abdominal obesity exists when the result is equal or higher than 0.5.

Helmut Schröder is a researcher from the research group on cardiovascular risk and nutrition at
IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute and also a member of the CIBER on Epidemiology and Public Health. According to Helmut Schröder, in the January 28, 2014 news release, Measuring waist circumference would improve the detection of children and adolescents with cardiometabolic risk, “In Spain, 21.3% of children aged 6 to 11 and 14.3% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 have abdominal obesity. From the total of Spanish children with a normal weight or overweight, 7.5% of those with a normal weight had abdominal obesity, while from those overweight, 49.2% have abdominal obesity. None of them would have been identified using the traditional screening methods. The same is true for adolescents, where 1.8% have a normal weight and 44.1% are overweight and wouldn’t have been detected either.”

According to Lluís Serra-Majem, in the news release, “ contrary to what may be thought, there are people, both adults and young people, whose weight is totally normal and yet have abdominal obesity and vice-versa --people who are overweight and with fat distributed in all their body who, therefore face a lower cardiometabolic risk." Lluís Serra-Majem is a researcher from the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and a member of the CIBER on the Physiopathology of Obesity and nutrition.

Abdominal fat is important when suffering from cardiovascular or metabolic diseases at an early age and it has been seen that, when using traditional measurements, a number of children and adolescents with this cardiometabolic risk go undetected.

The epidemic of child obesity is one of the biggest challenges for health policies. Based on the results of this study, researchers believe that it is necessary to include waist circumference measurements in routine clinical practice. It is a measurement that is easy to take, with no additional costs, and would only take doctors a few minutes. This would allow a greater control of this risk group that currently goes undetected and would allow preventing future cardiometabolic events at an early age or later on in life.

How fast is the phenomenon of belly fat on children growing?

Belly fat is linked to insulin resistance. If a child has the predisposition genetically to gain weight mostly on the belly, then why is belly fat on kids increasing in the population so rapidly? Is it the food or the genes behind the situation? Children's belly fat is growing fast, according to the WebMD site, Kids' Belly Fat Growing Fast. But fewer articles tell parents how to motivate kids to get rid of belly fat, especially when parents and grandparents have inherited the genes to gain weight in the abdomen instead of on the hips and thighs. Parents are told that too much belly fat is linked to insulin resistance. See, "Excess Belly Fat Linked to Insulin Resistance in Kids."

The issue is genes or not for excess belly fat, the problem is growing. See, Belly Fat Of US Children Grew By Over 65% Since 1999. And belly fat is linked to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes in young people as well as older adults. You'll also find a few sites online telling you how to get rid of belly fat in children.

Check out the site, Exercises to Lose Belly Fat For Kids - Fun 4 The Children. Sometimes eating too many rich carbs, sodas, sweet snacks, highly processed commercial baked goods, or too much bread can contribute to the problem as can too much ice cream instead of slice of fruit. You can even check out the site, Belly Fat Cure for Kids? by Amber Allen-Sauer - You could take a look at the Belly Fat Cure Book or see the WebMD site, The Belly Fat Cure Review.

Metabolic disorders predict the hardening of the arterial walls already in childhood

Belly fat on six to eight year old children may point to metabolic disorders. And metabolic disorders, such as excess abdominal fat, raised blood pressure, higher levels of insulin, glucose and triglycerides and lower levels of the beneficial HDL cholesterol can be found in children as young as 6 to 8 years of age, according to a study carried out at the University of Eastern Finland.

Nationally a decade ago, nearly 13 percent of children and adolescents were considered overweight, and the percentage of adolescents considered overweight has nearly tripled since 1980 according to a 2001 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. By 2013 the problem focused on by many scientists now is metabolic syndrome in kids, starting with examining six-to-eight-year olds with excess belly fat.

According to another study released on April 23, 3013, almost 53 percent of Californians over 25 are overweight, and more than 17 percent are obese, or extremely overweight and are costing nearly $21.7 billion a year in medical bills, injuries and lost productivity. These metabolic risk factors often accumulate in overweight children and, in the newly published study, this accumulation was linked with mild artery wall stiffness.

In the study done in Eastern Finland, of single disorders, higher levels of insulin, triglyceride and blood pressure were associated with artery wall stiffness. In addition, boys with excess abdominal fat and higher blood pressure levels were related to a reduced arterial dilation after maximal exercise in a bicycle test. The results were published today in Circulation Journal. Check out the April 25, 2013 news release, "Metabolic disorders predict the hardening of the arterial walls already in childhood." Check out the article, "Excess Belly Fat Linked to Insulin Resistance in Kids."

The researchers analyzed the relations of overweight, impaired glucose and fat metabolism and blood pressure to artery wall stiffness and arterial dilation capacity in 173 healthy children aged 6 to 8 years in Kuopio, eastern Finland. The study comprised part of the wider Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children (PANIC) study, which is carried out by a research group in the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Eastern Finland.

The PANIC study provides novel and scientifically valuable information on children's physical activity, nutrition, fitness, body composition, metabolism, vascular function, learning, oral health, sleep, pain and other factors of the quality of life. The original subject group was a population sample of 512 children from the city of Kuopio who were 6 years of age during the baseline examinations carried out between 2007 and 2009.

The children underwent a wide variety of measurements relating to their lifestyle, health and well-being. Furthermore, their artery wall stiffness and arterial function were measured by the pulse contour analysis of the finger arterial waveform. See, "Kids' Belly Fat Growing Fast - WebMD." Also see, Circulation.

Importance of lifestyle improvement is emphasized

Arterial stiffness and reduced arterial dilation predict atherosclerosis, i.e. the hardening of the arteries, and resulting vascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, cerebral infarctions and lower extremity arterial disease. The newly published results are scientifically significant, as they suggest that metabolic disorders developing already in childhood could cause mild arterial stiffness, thus impairing vascular health.

These results emphasize the importance of lifestyle improvement already in childhood in order to prevent metabolic and vascular dysfunction and resulting atherosclerotic events. For more information, see the article, "Belly Fat Of US Children Grew By Over 65% Since 1999."

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