Entries in Obese Teens (2)


Fatty Liver Disease Rises Among Heaviest Teens

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Nearly 10 percent of U.S. teens have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a largely silent accumulation of fat in their liver cells that puts them at risk for developing later cardiovascular disease and additional liver problems, new research has found.

Most of the increase in cases of NAFLD, a disease not brought on by alcohol-related liver damage, is occurring among the heaviest teens -- those considered obese, based on their height, weight and age, said lead researcher Dr. Miriam Vos, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Emory University in Atlanta.

"We tried to see where the increase was happening and it looks like it's happening in the obese group," she said.

But ill health is not inevitable for obese teens whose livers already have sustained damage, said Vos, an assistant professor of pediatrics.  "We think that liver disease is reversible, particularly for a teenager if they can make substantial changes and improve their weight," she added.

Vos determined that the prevalence of fatty liver among U.S. teens has more than doubled in the past two decades, from 3.6 percent to 9.9 percent, outpacing the rise in teenage obesity during that time and suggesting obesity is only a partial explanation for a rise.  Vos' findings come from health data collected for 10,359 adolescents who participated in the National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1988 and 2008.

Even without fully understanding why numbers are up, "this is a disease that definitely needs attention.  We need programs that focus on prevention of both obesity and fatty liver disease," said Vos, who is scheduled to present her findings Monday at Digestive Disease Week in San Diego, an annual gathering of nearly 16,000 physicians, researchers and academics.

The increase in fatty liver and its associated risks provide strong support for "recommendations to screen for NAFLD in obese adolescents," Vos and her colleagues concluded.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Obese Teens More Intense with Risky Behavior

Polka Dot/Jupiterimages(CINCINNATI) -- A new study has found that while obese high school students engage in high-risk behaviors as much as healthy weight students do, the obese students tend to do so in a more intense manner.

According to a study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, obese students and healthy weight students engage in high-risk behaviors such as alcohol/drug use and risky sexual and suicidal behavior at the same rate, but the obese teens were found to be indulging in these practices more “intensely.”

Researchers say the findings were surprising, as they thought obese teens would be less involved in risky behaviors because of social isolation and stigma. Researchers also say that physicians shouldn't assume that obese teens don't need to be targeted for preventing risky behaviors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

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