Childhood obesity peaks between ages ...

Childhood obesity peaks between ages 7 and 11

There are 4 comments on the University of Bristol news story from Apr 5, 2011, titled Childhood obesity peaks between ages 7 and 11. In it, University of Bristol news reports that:

Childhood obesity is common and hard to prevent but by identifying when it is most likely to occur, measures can be taken at key stages of childhood or adolescence to prevent it developing.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at University of Bristol news.

Since: Feb 07

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#1 Apr 10, 2011
WMC Exclusive: The Mystery Suspect in the U.S.“Obesity Epidemic” by Paula Caplan


As a clinician, I have heard from countless patients that upon telling their doctors about weight gain after starting psychiatric drugs, they hear back a simple mathematical formula: The more you eat, and the less you exercise, the more weight you gain. Even the little that is known about how the drugs may radically alter weight-gain and hunger mechanisms is too frequently omitted from the picture. Women, who tend more than men to be socialized to blame themselves for every problem, are particularly susceptible to feeling deeply ashamed about weight gain. It can be devastating for a patient who is suffering from anxiety or depression in the first place.

Precisely because of the silences about this topic, there is no way of calculating how much drugs marketed as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and tranquilizers are adding to people’s weight. The total number of antidepressant purchases alone skyrocketed from 88 million in 1997 to 161 million in 2004, and the number of people who reported making such purchases increased from 15 million to nearly 25 million.

As alarming as it is for adults—whose central nervous systems are mature—to suffer weight gain and associated health problems through inadequately tested psychiatric drugs, the problem is worse for children and adolescents. There are exceedingly few long-term studies that could tell us the possible effects of these drugs on those whose central nervous systems have a long way to go to reach maturity. The lack of information is especially worrying in light of the huge increases in prescriptions for these age groups of not only antidepressants and stimulants but even of drugs prescribed as mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics.

The ballooning, unchecked power of pharmaceutical companies over the past two decades in the United States—born partly of the legalization of direct-to-consumer drug advertising, a phenomenon that many people from Canada and other countries find shocking—is, of course, a major contributor to this set of problems. So is woefully inadequate government oversight. U.S. residents—too many of them struggling to deal with the effects of overwork, poverty, violence, and alienation—may easily be persuaded that drugs will provide quick, effective fixes, the only remedy their time and incomes will afford.

Research has shown that a woman walking into a therapist’s or family practitioner’s office is more likely than a man with exactly the same emotional problems or concerns to be diagnosed as mentally ill. With that diagnosis, people often learn to attribute all their problems, including eating more, to mental illness. This makes it especially troubling that in an article last May in the American Journal of Psychiatry, two doctors proposed that obesity be classified as a mental illness. One likely consequence of that would be another massive increase in the prescribing of psychotropic drugs, resulting, no doubt, in another upsurge in obesity statistics.

As a beginning step, anyone who considers taking a psychiatric drug should be able to make that decision one that is fully informed. This means that government, the media, and certainly physicians must be energetic in educating themselves and the public and insisting that pharmaceutical companies disclose the extent of weight gain their drugs cause.

Since: Feb 07

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#3 Apr 10, 2011
Kids on psych drugs have alarming weight gain

Many gain between 10 and 20 pounds in only 11 weeks, new study shows

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CHICAGO - Children on widely used psychiatric drugs can quickly gain an alarming amount of weight; many pack on nearly 20 pounds and become obese within just 11 weeks, a study found.

"Sometimes this stuff just happens like an explosion. You can actually see them grow between appointments," said Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children's Hospital who called the study "sobering."

Weight gain is a known possible side effect of the anti-psychotic drugs which are prescribed for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but also increasingly for autism, attention deficit disorders and other behavior problems. The new study in mostly older children and teens suggests they may be more vulnerable to weight gain than adults.

The study also linked some of these drugs with worrisome increases in blood fats including cholesterol, also seen in adults. Researchers tie these changes to weight gain and worry that both may make children more prone to heart problems in adulthood.

The research is the largest in children who had just started taking these medicines, and provides strong evidence suggesting the drugs, not something else, caused the side effects, said lead author Dr. Christoph Correll of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Glen Oaks, N.Y.

'Between a rock and a hard place'
But because these drugs can reduce severe psychiatric symptoms in troubled children, "We're a little bit between a rock and a hard place," he said.

The study authors said their results show that children on the drugs should be closely monitored for weight gain and other side effects, and that when possible, other medicines should be tried first.

The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. It involved 205 New York City-area children from 4 to 19 years old who had recently been prescribed one of the drugs; the average age was 14.

Depending on which of four study drugs children used, they gained between about 10 and 20 pounds on average in almost 11 weeks; from 10 percent to 36 percent became obese.

The drugs are Abilify, Risperdal, Seroquel and Zyprexa. Of the four, Seroquel and Zyprexa are not yet approved for children, and they had the worst effects on weight and cholesterol. However, a government advisory panel recently voted in favor of pediatric use for the two drugs, and the Food and Drug Administration often follows its advisers' recommendations.

The drugs' makers said these problems are known side effects but emphasized the drugs' benefits in helping patients cope with serious mental illness.
The four drugs have been considered safer than older anti-psychotic drugs, which can cause sometimes permanent involuntary muscle twitches and tics. That has contributed to widespread use of the newer drugs, including for less severe behavior problems, a JAMA editorial said.
The number of children using these drugs has soared to more than 2 million annually, according to one estimate.
Doctors "should not stretch the boundaries" by prescribing the drugs for conditions they haven't been proven to treat, said Varley, co-author of the editorial.
Why these drugs cause weight gain is uncertain but there's some evidence that they increase appetite and they may affect how the body metabolizes sugar, said Jeff Bishop, a psychiatric pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The drugs also can have a sedation effect that can make users less active.

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Since: Feb 07

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#4 Apr 10, 2011
Psychotropic drugs induced weight gain: a review of the literature concerning epidemiological data, mechanisms and management]

Weight gain is associated with the use of many psychotropic medications, including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic drugs, and may have serious long term consequences: it can increase health risks, specifically from overweight (BMI = 25-29.9 kg/m2) to obesity (BMI > or =30 kg/m2), according to Body Mass Index (BMI), and the morbidity associated therewith in a substantial part of patients (hypertension, coronary heart desease, ischemic stroke, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, cancer); according to patients, psychosocial consequences such as a sense of demoralization, physical discomfort and being the target of substantial social stigma are so intolerable that they may discontinue the treatment even if it is effective. The paper reviews actual epidemiological data concerning drug induced weight gain and associated health problems in psychiatric patients : there is a high risk of overweight, obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes mellitus, premature death, in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder; and the effects of specific drugs on body weight:

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Since: Feb 07

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#5 Apr 10, 2011
Doctors see kids on psych drugs quickly become obese
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
10:15 PM
< ;

CHICAGO (AP)— Children on widely used psychiatric drugs can quickly gain an alarming amount of weight; many pack on nearly 20 pounds and become obese within just 11 weeks, a study found.
"Sometimes this stuff just happens like an explosion. You can actually see them grow between appointments," said Dr. Christopher Varley, a psychiatrist with Seattle Children's Hospital who called the study "sobering."

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