News and Document archive source
copyrighted material disclaimer at bottom of page

NewsMinenature-healthhealthobesity — Viewing Item

Obese kids unhappy as with cancer

Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)

Obese Kids as Unhappy as Those With Cancer

By Randy Dotinga
From HealthScoutNews

April 8 Obesity makes children so unhealthy and miserable that their quality of life is slightly worse than children having chemotherapy to treat cancer, a new study suggests.

But the researchers can't say for sure which comes first, the obesity or the misery.

"It's a complex relationship. We don't know the answer to that," says study co-author Dr. Jeffrey Schwimmer, a pediatric gastroenterologist at the University of California, San Diego.

Schwimmer, who works with sick, obese kids at Children's Hospital & Health Center in San Diego, says he was inspired to do the research after he noticed the children seemed unhappy. But he couldn't find any research in the United States to suggest if fat children suffered from a lower quality of life than other children.

The study researchers surveyed 106 patients who were treated at the hospital for obesity. The patients, aged 5 to 18, had an average body mass index (BMI) of 34.7.

The index is a ratio that includes weight and height. To reach a BMI of 34 or higher, a 12-year-old boy who's 5-foot-3 would have to weigh at least 190 pounds.

The results of the study appear in the April 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The children took a test that measured their quality of life by asking questions about issues such as their health, stamina, athletic and school activities, personal relationships and general feelings -- such as whether they were happy or sad, angry or calm.

On a 100-point scale, the obese children reported their quality of life at 67, compared to 83 for healthy, non-obese children surveyed in another study. Parents of both sets of kids were also questioned about the quality of life of their children, and they reported an even larger gap -- 63 versus 88.

Looked at another way, the obese children were 5.5 times more likely to have a poor quality of life than the healthy kids, the researchers say.

"The obese children reported lower quality of life in every single domain," Schwimmer says. "These differences held up even when we looked at issues of gender, race, age and socioeconomic status."

The children also reported poor quality of life regardless of whether they suffered from illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

To put the figures in context, the researchers compared them to quality of life surveys of children undergoing chemotherapy.

"They've been demonstrated to have the lowest quality of life of any pediatric health condition," Schwimmer says. "That's why we selected them. It's a tough benchmark."

The quality of life reported by children undergoing chemotherapy was actually a slight bit better than the obese children, the researchers found.

The study doesn't offer any new information about why very heavy children have less fulfilling lives than their skinnier contemporaries. However, Schwimmer suspects social stigma plays a large part.

"From an early age, even at the kindergarten level, children see obese children as different and many respond to them differently," he says. "And certainly by junior high, children who are still obese are clearly ostracized in many places."

Dr. James Rosen is a professor of psychology at the University of Vermont and an expert in weight control among children. He says other stressful obstacles confronting heavy children include "not participating in sports, physical discomfort moving around, and the stress of trying to eat healthy when facing a junk food school cafeteria."

Food and weight control can become a "battleground" at home, he adds. And divorced parents may give their obese children conflicting messages about the importance of controlling weight.

An estimated 15 percent of American children are obese, or one in seven, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate has tripled since the 1970s.

Schwimmer acknowledges the study didn't look at very heavy children in general, but only those who visited a hospital for treatment of obesity.

In another study on obesity and children in the April 9 Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania report that obese children who have behavior-modification therapy can lose even more weight if they take a weight-loss medication for adults called sibutramine.

Children who were treated with sibutramine for six months lost an average of 17 pounds, compared to just seven pounds for those who also had the behavior-modification therapy but took a placebo instead of the drug.

The researchers caution, however, that more testing needs to be done before doctors should recommend the drug to young patients.

More information

To learn more about obesity and children, visit the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. To calculate a body mass index, check with the National Institutes of Health.

Copyright 2002 ScoutNews LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

2 million kids at risk for diabetes from obesity { November 7 2005 }
31 states record increases in adult obesity { July 2006 }
90 percent of american men will be obese
Ads target kids for junk food
Air conditioning making us fat
Americans fat
Artificial sweeteners cause weight gain { January 2008 }
Artificial sweeteners cause weight gain
Atkins diet clogged mans arteries { May 27 2004 }
Atkins diet studies { May 22 2003 }
Bill blocks obesity lawsuits
Brit prince warns not to get fat like americans { January 27 2006 }
Britain teens face obesity infertility { December 9 2003 }
British children choking on their own fat
Changing human shape { September 9 2002 }
Child obesity lowers life expectancy below adults { April 27 2005 }
Coke pepsi risks diabetes weight gain { August 25 2004 }
Companies make food addictive
Early years vital for curbing obesity { May 20 2005 }
Eating fat not fattening { September 22 2003 }
Extreme obesity ballooning in adults
Fat americans weighing airline profits down
Fat at 20 cuts 20
Fat at 40 shortens life
Fat epidemic 6 year olds
Fat kids prone to future health problems
Fat teens get stomach operation { August 5 2003 }
Fat tissue increases risk of cancer { October 23 2006 }
Fatter cats dogs are sizeable problem
Fitness more important than weight loss { September 8 2004 }
Food pyramind might change shape
Food subsudies make a population fat { April 22 2007 }
French eat less
Girls who feel unpopular may gain weight { January 7 2008 }
Heart disease not genetic
High fat atkins diet confounds experts { May 22 2003 }
Icecream vendor tells fat kid he eats too much { May 11 2005 }
Judge throws out obesity suit { September 4 2003 }
Junk food adverts banished during UK children television
Kids suffer blood pressure rises { May 4 2004 }
Live longer by eating less study suggests
Living in cities makes you skinny { February 20 2007 }
Mcdonalds ceo dies of health problems
Mcdonalds fat { April 19 2002 }
Medicare to cover obesity { July 16 2004 }
More kids on cholesterol drugs { October 29 2007 }
New us diet less calories { September 10 2003 }
Nfl slim chance fighting obesity
Obese kids unhappy as with cancer
Obese people face higher insurance { April 7 2004 }
Obesity an epidemic in us
Obesity biggest risk to kids says poll { March 31 2004 }
Obesity causes brain atrophy in women
Obesity close to smoking as leading cause of death { March 11 2004 }
Obesity costs us 75b yearly { January 22 2004 }
Obesity costs us 93b year { May 14 2003 }
Obesity down in sugar free schools
Obesity in kids will save social security
Obesity increases death of breast cancer
Obesity linked cancer
Obesity linked with colon cancer
Obesity may trigger asthma { July 14 2006 }
Obesity passing tobacco as leading preventable cause of death
Obesity policy bill { August 10 2003 }
Obesity rate is nearly 25 percent { August 24 2005 }
Obesity top health problem in us { October 28 2003 }
One in four britons are fat
Over eating more common than under eating
Overweight higher risk alzheimers { July 14 2003 }
Parents urged to fight childhood obesity { July 29 2004 }
People arent trying lose weight
Risk syndrome overweight teens { August 12 2003 }
Small town fights child obesity with diet and excercise { May 16 2007 }
Soda a day boosts weight gain { August 25 2004 }
Soda consumption linked to childhood obesity
Starve yourself to live longer { April 20 2004 }
Strict parenting leads link to fat kids { June 5 2006 }
Study links sprawl to fat { August 29 2003 }
Television for kids encourages over eating { March 29 2007 }
Temper tantrum kids have obesity problems { July 9 2004 }
Thin people may have unhealthy internal fat { May 10 2007 }
Toboacco company defends obesity { April 27 2005 }
Truth about fat cats dogs
Vitamin e linked to higher death rates
WHO anti obesity stretegy attacked by sugar industry { May 20 2004 }

Files Listed: 85


CIA FOIA Archive

National Security
Support one-state solution for Israel and Palestine Tea Party bumper stickers JFK for Dummies, The Assassination made simple