All over the world, and Ecuador is no exception, Overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is a growing problem. In 2012, the National Health and Nutrition Survey (Ensanut 2012) noted that one in 10 children under the age of five is already overweight. This is 1 out of 3 school-age children and 1 out of 4 adolescents.

Childhood obesity is not a phase that will pass by itself, it will most likely continue into adulthood is a predictor of non-communicable chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and disorders such as depression.

Malnutrition allows school-aged children to be overweight, short in stature and lack micronutrients, is one of the conclusions of Ensanut, which is interpreted by Unicef ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​for to you to Ensanut.

Magazine Lancet addressed the issue during a summit held this month in hybrid mode, where various experts spoke about the lifelong consequences of this disease. Among the papers presented were those with the following conclusions:

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In 2018, five new subtypes of diabetes were identified. A randomized study confirmed that high height in childhood is associated with an increased risk of latent autoimmune diabetes, severe insulin-deficient diabetes, severe insulin-resistant diabetes, and diabetes associated with mild obesity in adulthood.

Being large in adulthood is associated with an increased risk of osteoarthritis. Following the trajectory of 466,000 patients, it was concluded that the greater the weight gain during growth, the greater the likelihood of joint deterioration. And this is independent of genetic susceptibility to osteoarthritis.

Research generally focuses on childhood and adolescence, but neglects birth and early childhood, which are also relevant in the development of cardiometabolic diseases over the years. A study with data from 1,902 children from the Västra Götaland region of Sweden, looking at their data from birth to 13 years of age, concluded that an excessive increase in body mass index from birth can predict both cardiometabolic risk and stress and symptoms. psychosomatic disorders in adolescents under the age of 13.

The high frequency of overweight in children under 5 years of age indicates the existence of risk factors before conception and during pregnancy. There are two that stand out: that both parents or one of them smoke or have a high BMI, and that the mother eats poor quality food or has a sedentary lifestyle.

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It’s not just the mother’s actions that count. Smoking, drinking, exercising or not, eating right or wrong, and being overweight are issues that affect both parents or the child’s primary caregiver. A healthy lifestyle for both fathers and mothers is independently associated with a lower risk of obesity in their children.

The summit also received the results of an extensive analysis, with 457 included studies, which found that there are obesogenic (obesity-friendly) environments. A neighborhood, neighborhood or city that promotes physical activity (bicycle paths, sidewalks, wide sidewalks, green spaces) and that allows children access to any type of food, except for convenience stores and fast food restaurants, reduces the risk of childhood obesity of its residents.

The use of sweeteners may give the idea of ​​giving children a healthy option, but this is because they are often compared to sugar. Of course, compared to her, they achieve a smaller gain in body mass. But summit participants suggest better-designed studies comparing non-nutritively sweetened beverages and water. “The role of these sweeteners on weight outcomes in children and adolescents is unclear,” the officials said. Studies are often funded by the food industry, and there is also a conflict of interest.

Children who have a higher genetic risk of being overweight or obese, and who also live in a socioeconomically disadvantaged position in the first two to three years of life, had more problems with BMI in adolescence, according to a team of Australian researchers. “For genetically vulnerable children, early intervention in their neighborhood could help reduce disadvantage and reduce the risk of being overweight or obese in adolescence.”

A group of doctors from the Tecnológico de Monterrey, in Mexico, confirmed that poverty and marginalization can lead to children under the age of 5 having a high BMI, and that interventions through government policies can achieve changes, but at higher levels of poverty and marginalization, smaller is an influence.

Children of mothers who receive an intervention with dietary supplements targeting their nutritional deficiencies are associated with a lower risk of rapid weight gain in the child up to 2 years of age.

A two-year follow-up of 1,729 subjects from the United Kingdom, Singapore and New Zealand found that fewer infants of mothers who received a nutritional supplementation intervention before conception and during pregnancy had a high BMI or rapid weight gain in the first year of life. and even in another.

Ideal cardiovascular health in Chinese children and adolescents is very low. An anti-obesity lifestyle school action would promote better cardiovascular health, is one of the conclusions of researchers from the country who used random information from schools in seven regions of China. Over 9 months, they tracked the promotion (or lack thereof) of diet, exercise, and obesity-related behaviors. More than 57,000 students were examined, both in the intervention and control groups; health promotion had a greater impact on the behavior of school-aged children (7-12 years) than adolescents, but it had an impact on the protection of 16-17-year-old students from starting to smoke. “Early intervention can improve cardiovascular health throughout life.” (F)