Childhood obesity is one of the biggest problems in the U.S because it leads to deteriorating health in children. Statistics published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that children and young adults between 12 and 19 years old have the highest obesity prevalence. Roughly 20.6% of all teens are obese compared to 18.4% in children between 6 and 11 years old, and 13.9% in children between 2 and 5 years old.
A new study suggests that the problem of obesity can be tackled from the early stages of development. Researchers have so far linked conditions such as metabolic syndrome in teens to the lack of adequate vitamin D at the infant stage. Metabolic syndrome occurs when cholesterol levels in the body accumulate to unhealthy levels. It is characterized by too much body fat accumulating around the waist and it is also characterized by too much blood sugar.
The risk with obesity is that it increases the risk of diseases like Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Researchers believe that the problem of obesity can be solved ensuring higher uptake of vitamin D in children during the early stages of development.
“We can never tell from an observational study if there is causation but at least from a predictive point of view, the fact that a single measure of vitamin D in early life predicts cardiovascular risk over such a long period is compelling,” stated Professor Eduardo Villamor.
The study enrolled 1,800 participants and evaluated data collected from over 300 children from low-income and middle-income homes. The researchers measured the vitamin D content in the blood, as well as the metabolic syndrome score, muscle mass, and fat mass data. The conclusion from the data observed was that every extra unit of vitamin D in the blood represented a slower BMI gain in children between 1 and 5 years old. They also noted that teens at age 16 or 17 had a lower metabolic score, more muscle mass, and higher body fat.
The conclusion from the study is that children that consume ample levels of vitamin D are less likely to suffer from obesity as teenagers.