Excess Body Fat May Limit Bone Growth in Kids with Obesity
We want out children to be healthy, grow tall and strong. If your child has been diagnosed with obesity, then despite your best efforts, a new study suggests that excess body fat may restrict bone growth and compromise other body functions.
Past studies have shown that children diagnosed with obesity may tend to have more muscle mass, which is usually associated with positive bone attributes. In this new study, out of the University of Georgia, findings suggest that the excess fat may negatively impact their bones. The lead author of the study, published in the journal Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity looked at bone geometry, measuring the size and strength of bone in children and teens. Normally muscle presence influences bone geometry positively. In kids with excess body fat, there is a negative influence.
Typically muscle is a strong determinant of how well bone is going to grow in kids and teens. Since obese children are usually found to have more muscle mass, one would assume better or optimal bone growth. New evidence seems to show that the fat within the muscle, a presentation found in kids with obesity, affects how the bone grows, but not in a good way.
Bone geometry, allows researchers to measure spatial distribution of the bone, and specifically, how tightly packed bone mineral content is in a person’s body. Bone geometry identifies how strong bone is. The researchers in the study focused on these bone features. Because of the negative impact of excess fat on bone growth, the researchers hope to highlight the import of a healthy lifestyle, especially in childhood and adolescence.
Here are some basic tips to help limit the risk of obesity in childhood, and ways to help your child reach a healthier weight if they have been diagnosed with obesity:
• Aim for a healthy breakfast daily that includes a serving of fat free dairy, a serving of lean protein, a serving of a high fiber grain, and a serving of fruit.
• Limit consumption of processed foods, junk foods, and fast food.
• Wean your child off of juices (zero or one serving daily is the goal), sugary drinks, and caloric energy drinks and focus on 1% and fat free milk, nut and soy milk, water and unsweetened teas for hydration.
• Weight bearing fitness builds stronger bones and weight training with light weights is approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for kids over age 10 with supervision. Jumping rope and any aerobic activities that have kids “hitting the ground” also can contribute to bone density growth.
• Get kids moving by scheduling after-school-play, and have them commit to a sport they like. This will help to support weight and energy balance.
• Establish a relationship with a dietician or nutritionist to create a daily menu plan if possible.
• Cook and prepare most foods at home.
• Make fitness opportunities a daily norm.
• Limit TV and video time and require equal amounts of fitness time for viewing time.
• Limit eating after dinner to a small healthy snack or just calorie free beverages.
If your child is overweight or obese, the goal may often be to hold them at that weight while they grow taller instead of aiming for weight loss. If their BMI is in the obese range, then weight loss may be necessary.
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Children with Obesity are Not Moving Enough!!
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