Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Diabetes Meds May Decrease BMI in Obese Teens

The obesity rate among children has tripled since 1960, with 32% of US children considered overweight or obese. Obese kids suffer some of the same weight-related problems as do adults: diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. The February issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine included a report by Darrell M. Wilson, M.D., of Stanford University and the Lucile S. Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford, Calif., and colleagues in the Glaser Pediatric Research Network Obesity Study Group.

The research group randomly assigned 77 obese teenagers, ages 13 to 18, to a “lifestyle intervention program” which included dietary changes and increased physical activity plus either 2,000 mg of Metformin XR or a placebo. The study ran for 38 weeks and participants were monitored for an additional 48 weeks after they stopped participating in the study. The use of Metformin showed a significant impact on BMI over the initial 52 weeks of the study, but the teens’ BMIs shot back up within 12-24 weeks after the drug was discontinued.

An obese child/teen has more adipocytes (fats cells) than a normal weight child. This will make it harder for them to maintain a reasonably healthy weight. Add to that a lack of experience and knowledge in what they should and could be eating for better health, as well as poor adult examples of what a meal or a snack should consist of, and you have set them up for a future of weight gain.

So parents, clean out the cupboards and fridge of the "Frankenfoods"...any pseudofood made with trans fats, food colorings/dyes/preservatives and high fructose corn syrup, and replace them with nutrient-rich whole foods (organic if possible). Shop the perimeter of the food market where the fruits and vegetables wait for you. Buy foods that come from nature, not from a lab. Try to cook together to teach your children (depending on age) simple basics of putting a meal together. Let the kitchen be the central point where the family meets, greets and eats together. Turn off the TV, leave your cell phone, put a leash on your dog and go for a walk together. Formalized exercise routines can be built later on, but for now, "go outside and play" should be heard more than the sounds of X-box, PS3 or video games.

Feel free to send me a health question!

To your health,
Dr. David Blyweiss