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Early Childhood Obesity Linked to Markers of Inflammation

In other study, early childhood racial disparities seen in risk factors associated with obesity

MONDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- An association between obesity and markers of inflammation is detectable even in children as young as 3 years, and racial differences in risk factors for childhood obesity are seen at even earlier ages, according to two studies published online March 1 in Pediatrics.

Asheley Cockrell Skinner, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and colleagues analyzed 1999 to 2006 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and found that children deemed very obese at the ages of 3 to 5 years had an increased risk of having a C-reactive protein level greater than 1.0 mg/L. This increased risk continued through adolescence. Very obese children had a higher risk of abnormal neutrophil count starting at ages 6 to 8 years, and an increased risk of abnormal ferritin/transferrin ratio at 9 to 11 years.

Elsie M. Taveras, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from a cohort of 1,826 Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic mothers and their children, and found that African-American and Hispanic children had a higher likelihood of risk factors associated with obesity. During infancy, these included faster weight gain, beginning solid foods before the age of 4 months, and maternal restrictive feeding behaviors. After the age of 2 years, factors more likely in African-American and Hispanic children included more sugar-sweetened beverages and fast food.

"We found that from pregnancy to the preschool period, many risk factors for child obesity are more prevalent among black and Hispanic children than among white children. These differences may very well explain the observed racial/ethnic differences in prevalence of obesity in young children," Taveras and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Skinner
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Abstract - Taveras
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