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Obesity and metabolic syndrome associated with impaired brain function in adolescents
Date:9/2/2012

ildren who are obese have abnormal cholesterol levels and more than 40 percent of those who are really obese have insulin resistance. "Obesity in kids is sky-high. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population is considered obese. Parents need to understand that obesity has medical consequences, even in children, and some of those consequences may be impacting more than just the long term health of the cardiovascular system. We need to do what our grandmothers have told us all along: 'Eat well, don't overeat and try to move as much as possible.'"

Dr. Convit added that simple changes in daily routine would go a long way in preventing MetS changes like walking more and taking the stairs. Future research is needed to determine whether the reductions in cognitive performance and structural brain abnormalities are reversible with significant weight loss, he explained.

"The take home message is that just being overweight and obese is already impacting your brain," Dr. Convit said. "Kids who are struggling with their weight and moving toward having MetS may have lower grades, which could ultimately lead to lower professional achievement in the long run. These are run-of-the-mill, garden-variety kids, not kids that came into the hospital because they were sick. It is imperative that we take obesity and physical activity seriously in children. In this country, we're taking away gym class in order to give children more class time in an effort to improve school performance, but that effort may be having the exact opposite effect."

Dr. Convit's focus on combating and raising awareness about the impact of childhood obesity led him to create the The BODY Project, a program that works with New York City schools and parents to evaluate students' height, weight, blood pressure, test for insulin resistance and record other measures of health, giving parents an overview of their child's health status. Simply receiving this report motivates visits to the pediat
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
Jessica.Guenzel@nyumc.org
212-404-3591
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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