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Newsletter: October 2011

Obesity in children should not be taken lightly as there are more than cosmetic reasons for them to stay at a healthy weight.

According to a AFP news article, obese kids face twice the risk of developing asthma in contrast to their slimmer counterparts. Experts believe obesity shares common factors with asthma, such as the overproduction of cytokines – substances with inflammatory effects – when triggered by different stimuli.

As such, the frequency of asthma in overweight children can be up to double of that of healthy weight ones, field authorities said at the 2nd annual Pediatric Allergy and Asthma Meeting in Barcelona, which ended on October 15 2011.

To curb obesity among children, government intervention is already in place in the US. According to voluntary guidelines for food industry proposed earlier this year, maximum levels of fat, sugars and sodium, among other requirements, are set for products marketed to children from age two to 17. Companies are urged to not market foods that are not within those parameters to this young group of consumers.

In another study conducted in Sweden, obese pregnant women are found to be at a higher chance of predisposing their babies to asthma as compared to normal weight mothers, reported Reuters. The research that measured 129,000 mothers and their 189,000 children found severely obese mothers of body mass index of 35 and above to fall under this category. They face a 61% increased risk of their children inclined to have asthma by eight to 10 years of age.

Lead author Adrian Lowe of Murdoch Children Research Institute and University of Melbourne said, “Obese mothers had a 41 percent increase in the odds compared to normal weight mothers … those who were a little overweight had 18 percent increased chance.”

Maternal obesity increases the child’s risk of obesity, which in turn impacts the infant’s immune system and its responses towards allergies, Lowe explained.

image Baby photo created by wirestock –