Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study Targets Obese Kids' Health Woes; 3-Year Nemours Effort to Test Early Intervention

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Study Targets Obese Kids' Health Woes; 3-Year Nemours Effort to Test Early Intervention

Article excerpt

Byline: CHERIE BLACK

Obese children participating in a first-ever study at Nemours Children's Clinic in Jacksonville have been found to be 10 times more likely than lean children to show risk factors of developing diabetes, according to preliminary results released Monday. They also were 1.5 times more likely to have increased levels of a blood-clotting protein that puts them at risk for hypertension.

The three-year study, which began in October, is exploring ways to prevent in children the onset of medical complications, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, more commonly associated with obesity in adults.

Detailed findings will be released during the annual national meeting of the Endocrine Society in June in Boston.

Nelly Mauras, chief of Nemours' endocrinology division and head of the study, said the results support the theory that being overweight alone may be the first marker of early cardiovascular risk.

"This evidence helps us show a clear need for even earlier interventions to halt a child's rate of weight gain and decrease the prevalence of childhood obesity," she said.

During the past 20 years, Type 2 diabetes, more commonly seen in adults, has been on the rise in children and teenagers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says obesity and lack of exercise are the major causes for the increase. In Duval County, the number of overweight and obese children has quadrupled during the past four decades, county health department statistics show.

The Nemours study looks to compare blood and fat composition in 80 obese and 80 lean children between the ages of 8 and 18. So far, 29 obese and 22 lean children have qualified and are being studied.

Obesity is determined by factoring body mass index, a test that compares height and weight, said Keisha Bird, research coordinator of the study.

The obese children are receiving free diet and exercise counseling. …

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