Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 October 2022) | Viewed by 37278

Special Issue Editor

1. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Sciences and Education, Harokopio University, 70 Eleftheriou Venizelou (Thiseos) Ave. Kallithea, 17671 Athens, Greece
2. Senior Research Associate in Pediatric Pulmonology 3rd Department of Paediatrics, National and Kapodistian Athens University, Univercity General Hospital “ATTIKON”, Rimini 1, Chaidari, 12462 Athens, Greece
Interests: childhood obesity; epidemiology; chronic diseases in childhood; research methodologies; structural equation modeling
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Childhood obesity has emerged as a global public health problem in recent decades, reaching alarming levels in both the developed and the developing world. Nearly one in five children are either overweight or obese, a fact that calls for immediate action. Nutrition is a key part of the imbalance in energy intake and energy expenditure that, through complicated and not-well-understood pathways, results in obesity. However, nutrition is a very complex subject. The variability in the type of foods or food groups consumed during childhood and adolescence, in association with the ongoing changes in the body structure and physiology of children, also contributes to the puzzle of childhood obesity. Moreover, dietary patterns have also emerged as important factors, since children do not consume only specific foods or foods from specific food groups but a plethora of foods from a range of food groups. Many dietary patterns are implicated in the pathway to childhood obesity, either as protective ones, such as the Mediterranean diet pattern, or as harmful ones, such as the Western-type diet pattern. Finally, nutrient intake in the context of childhood obesity could be impaired due to unhealthy eating patterns, and specific nutrients could be lacking in the nutrition of overweight or obese children. This could result in nutrient deficiencies that could have a harmful effect on their health.

The aim of this Special Issue of Children is to highlight new insights into the complex role that nutrition plays in the aetiology of childhood obesity. We welcome studies that assess any aspect of this role, including specific food items, foods groups, dietary patterns or nutrients, and their association with childhood obesity. We also welcome original research articles and reviews that present new approaches to, and highlight novel associations that could be targeted as possible factors for, the development of preventive interventions against childhood obesity.

I look forward to your contribution.

Dr. George Antonogeorgos
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • childhood obesity
  • diet
  • dietary pattern
  • child/children
  • adolescent
  • food groups
  • food
  • food item
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Western type diet
  • nutrient

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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18 pages, 1991 KiB  
Article
Nutrition as Prevention of Diet-Related Diseases—A Cross-Sectional Study among Children and Young Adults with Down Syndrome
Children 2023, 10(1), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10010036 - 24 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3419
Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to assess the diet of children with Down syndrome (DS) and to identify potential dietary mistakes made by their parents. Materials and methods: The study was conducted among 195 parents of people with DS between November [...] Read more.
Background: The aim of this study was to assess the diet of children with Down syndrome (DS) and to identify potential dietary mistakes made by their parents. Materials and methods: The study was conducted among 195 parents of people with DS between November 2020 and March 2021. Data for the study were collected anonymously using the CAWI method. Results: 122 (62.6%) people with DS did not eliminate any nutrient from their diet. By contrast, in the study group, the following numbers of people reported the following dietary restrictions: 51 (26.2%) gluten, 56 (28.7%) lactose, 17 (8.7%) casein, 26 (13.3%) sucrose, 2 (1.0%) histamine, 2 (1.0%) lectins, and 1 (0.5%) dairy. The most frequent response for vegetable and fruit consumption was once a day, with 83 (42.6%) and 87 (44.6%) parents indicating this. The most frequent response for dairy product consumption was every day, with 72 (36.9%) parents indicating this, while 36 (20%) parents stated that their children do not eat dairy products at all. In the study group, the most frequent response for meat consumption was several times a week, this was indicated by 107 (54.9%) parents, while 1 (0.5%) of them said that their children do not eat meat products at all. The most frequent response for fish consumption was 1–2 times a week, this answer was indicated by 101 (51.8%) parents, while 13 (6.7%) said that their children do not eat these products at all. Conclusions: A majority of the subjects with DS are usually fed in a normal way, but nutritional mistakes are made by the parents. Special attention should be paid to prolonging the period of natural feeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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10 pages, 559 KiB  
Article
Parental Lifestyle Changes and Correlations with Children’s Dietary Changes during the First COVID-19 Lockdown in Greece: The COV-EAT Study
Children 2022, 9(12), 1963; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9121963 - 14 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the eating behaviour of parents during the first lockdown implemented in Greece due to COVID-19 and to explore possible associations with corresponding changes in the eating behaviour of their children. A quantitative cross-sectional [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to investigate changes in the eating behaviour of parents during the first lockdown implemented in Greece due to COVID-19 and to explore possible associations with corresponding changes in the eating behaviour of their children. A quantitative cross-sectional study was performed using an online questionnaire. The study sample consisted of 397 parents with children aged 2–18 years, who were recruited from 63 municipalities in Greece. It was observed that the percentage of parents and children reporting consumption of breakfast during the lockdown period increased by 10.6% and 5%, respectively. Also, 75% of the parents increased their snack consumption and 61% their sweets consumption. Parents increased home-cooking during lockdown (6.4 times/week), compared to 5.6 times/week before (p < 0.001), which was associated with decreased consumption of fast foods for both parents and children (p < 0.001 for all comparisons) and also correlated with increased consumption of fruit and vegetables for children (p < 0.05). More than half parents tried to lose weight during lockdown (58.4%). In conclusion, both favourable (home-cooking) and unfavourable (increased snacking) lifestyle changes during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Greece were reported for parents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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12 pages, 981 KiB  
Article
Body Composition Characteristics of Type 1 Diabetes Children and Adolescents: A Hospital-Based Case-Control Study in Uganda
Children 2022, 9(11), 1720; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111720 - 09 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Background: Changes in body composition have been suggested as an intractable effect of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and its management. This study aims to compare body composition characteristics in a sample of young children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus with healthy [...] Read more.
Background: Changes in body composition have been suggested as an intractable effect of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and its management. This study aims to compare body composition characteristics in a sample of young children and adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus with healthy controls. Methods: In this case–control study, body composition was assessed using bioelectrical impedance among 328 participants. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height, upper arm, hip, and waist, circumferences; biceps; triceps; and subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds. From raw Bioelectrical impedance data, we calculated the impedance, phase angle, and height normalised resistance and reactance to assess body composition. Analysis of variance accounting for paired blocks was used to compare the two matched groups, while an independent Student’s t-test was used for intragroup comparisons among cases. Results: Waist Hip Ratio, biceps, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac skinfolds were higher among cases than in controls. Cases showed a higher Fat Mass Index, higher fasting blood glucose and higher glycated haemoglobin. Cases also had a higher mean value of resistance (p = 0.0133), and a lower mean value of reactance (p = 0.0329). Phase angle was lower among cases than in controls (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Our diabetic children showed higher levels of adiposity than controls. The observed differences in body composition are explained by differences in the fat-mass index. Abdominal fat accumulation was associated with poor glycaemic control and a lower phase angle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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8 pages, 352 KiB  
Article
High Prevalence of Hypovitaminosis D in Adolescents Attending a Reference Centre for the Treatment of Obesity in Switzerland
Children 2022, 9(10), 1527; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101527 - 06 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
Background: Hypovitaminosis D is common in populations with obesity. This study aimed at assessing (1) the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and (2) the associations between vitamin D levels and cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents attending a reference centre for the treatment of obesity. [...] Read more.
Background: Hypovitaminosis D is common in populations with obesity. This study aimed at assessing (1) the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and (2) the associations between vitamin D levels and cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents attending a reference centre for the treatment of obesity. Design: Cross-sectional pilot study conducted in the paediatric obesity unit of the Lausanne university hospital, Switzerland. Methods: Participants were considered eligible if they (1) were aged between 10 to 16.9 years and (2) consulted between 2017 and 2021. Participants were excluded if (1) they lacked vitamin D measurements or (2) the vitamin D measurement was performed one month after the base anthropometric assessment. Hypovitaminosis D was considered if the vitamin D level was <30 ng/mL (<75 nmol/L). Severe obesity was defined as a BMI z-score > 3 SD. Results: We included 52 adolescents (31% girls, mean age 13 ± 2 years, 33% with severe obesity). The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D was 87.5% in girls and 88.9% in boys. The vitamin D levels were inversely associated with BMI, Spearman r and 95% CI: −0.286 (−0.555; −0.017), p = 0.037; they were not associated with the BMI z-score: −0.052 (−0.327; 0.224), p = 0.713. The vitamin D levels were negatively associated with the parathormone levels (−0.353 (−0.667; −0.039), p = 0.028) and positively associated with the calcium levels (0.385 (0.061; 0.708), p = 0.020), while no association was found between vitamin D levels and blood pressure and lipid or glucose levels. Conclusion: almost 9 out of 10 adolescents with obesity in our cohort presented with hypovitaminosis D. Hypovitaminosis D does not seem to be associated with a higher cardiovascular risk profile in this group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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7 pages, 549 KiB  
Article
Frequency of Candida spp. in the Oral Cavity of Asymptomatic Preschool Mexican Children and Its Association with Nutritional Status
Children 2022, 9(10), 1510; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101510 - 03 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1690
Abstract
Malnutrition is a public health problem in developing countries, affecting the child population, which favors the appearance of infections such as oral candidiasis. In Mexico, information on the presence of oral colonization by Candida spp. in asymptomatic children is scarce. The present study [...] Read more.
Malnutrition is a public health problem in developing countries, affecting the child population, which favors the appearance of infections such as oral candidiasis. In Mexico, information on the presence of oral colonization by Candida spp. in asymptomatic children is scarce. The present study aimed to determine the presence of Candida spp. in the oral cavity of asymptomatic preschool Mexican children and its association with their nutritional status. A sample of oral mucosa was obtained using a sterile swab and then inoculated in Sabouraud dextrose agar with antibiotics, and the yeast growth was phenotypically identified. The anthropometric profile of children was performed based on the guidelines of the International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry. In addition, eating habits were investigated. The possible associations between the variables were determined through the chi-square test (IC95%, p < 0.05) (GraphPad Prism 8.0). Among the 743 assessed children (403 boys and 340 girls), the average age was 4.6 years, and the average nutritional status was normal (53.7%), followed by undernutrition (28.4%), overweight (12.4%) and obesity (5.5%). In 52 children, Candida was isolated, and the identified species were C. albicans (87.8%), C. glabrata (11.5%), C. krusei (5.8%) and C. parapsilosis (1.9%). The frequency of colonization was greater in males of six years (69.23%). There was no significant association between the colonization by Candida spp. and the nutritional status; however, a relation was observed with a high intake of simple carbohydrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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13 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
The Study of Nutrient Intake and Adolescent Girls’ Quality of Life in a Rural Area of Indonesia
Children 2022, 9(8), 1248; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081248 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1719
Abstract
An inadequate nutrient intake correlates with malnutrition, a problem affecting many adolescents worldwide. Nutrient intake is associated with quality of life (QoL). Our study analyzed the relationship between nutrient intake and adolescents’ QoL. We conducted a cross-sectional study. Through simple random sampling, 157 [...] Read more.
An inadequate nutrient intake correlates with malnutrition, a problem affecting many adolescents worldwide. Nutrient intake is associated with quality of life (QoL). Our study analyzed the relationship between nutrient intake and adolescents’ QoL. We conducted a cross-sectional study. Through simple random sampling, 157 adolescent girls were selected. Nutrition status was assessed using anthropometric measurements. Nutrient intake was collected using the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). WHOQOL BREF was used to explore adolescent girls’ quality of life. The median of nutrient intake: energy (908.25 kcal); protein (24.16 g); carbohydrate (128.89 g); fat (21.89 g); vitamin A (77.10 mg); vitamin E (1.40 mg); vitamin B1 (0.19 mg); vitamin B2 (0.29 mg); vitamin B6 (0.45 mg); folic acid (35.13 mg); vitamin C (12.60 mg); calcium (197.46 mg); magnesium (93.72 mg); iron (2.64 mg); and zinc (2.09 mg). The adolescents’ QoL scores were physical health 44 (25–81), psychological domain 56 (19–94), social relationships 56 (19–94), and environmental domain 56 (31–100). The strongest correlations were between (1) physical health with carbohydrates, vitamin C, and fat; (2) psychological domain with calcium; (3) social relationships with carbohydrates and vitamin C; and (4) environmental domain with BMI and zinc. There was a significant positive correlation between the intake of some nutrients and adolescents’ QoL, despite the observation of some significant negative correlations. The findings of this study indicate that more attention should be focused on adolescents’ nutrient intake in order to improve their QoL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
12 pages, 1159 KiB  
Article
Clinical Significance of the Fetuin-A-to-Adiponectin Ratio in Obese Children and Adolescents with Diabetes Mellitus
Children 2021, 8(12), 1155; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121155 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1834
Abstract
Fetuin-A and adiponectin are inflammatory cytokines associated with obesity and insulin resistance. This study aimed to examine the fetuin-A-to-adiponectin ratio (FAR) in diabetic children and to determine the role of FAR. A total of 54 children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus (DM) and [...] Read more.
Fetuin-A and adiponectin are inflammatory cytokines associated with obesity and insulin resistance. This study aimed to examine the fetuin-A-to-adiponectin ratio (FAR) in diabetic children and to determine the role of FAR. A total of 54 children and adolescents with diabetes mellitus (DM) and 44 controls aged 9–16 years were included in this study. Clinical characteristics, including plasma fetuin-A and adiponectin levels, were compared with respect to body mass index (BMI) and diabetes type. Of 98 children, 54.1% were obese, whereas 18.4% were obese and diabetic. FAR was higher in obese children with DM than in non-obese children and also in type 2 DM children than in type 1. FAR showed a stronger association with BMI than with fetuin-A and adiponectin individually, and its association was more prominent in diabetic children than in controls. BMI was a risk factor for increased FAR. Plasma fetuin-A was elevated in obese children, and its association with insulin resistance and β cell function seemed more prominent in diabetic children after adjustment for adiponectin. Thus, FAR could be a useful surrogate for the early detection of childhood metabolic complications in diabetic children, particularly those who are obese. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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12 pages, 306 KiB  
Article
Breakfast Dietary Pattern Is Inversely Associated with Overweight/Obesity in European Adolescents: The HELENA Study
Children 2021, 8(11), 1044; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8111044 - 12 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2797
Abstract
Obesity in children and adolescents is a public health problem and diet can play a major role in this condition. We aimed to identify sex-specific dietary patterns (DP) and to evaluate the association with overweight/obesity in European adolescents. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis [...] Read more.
Obesity in children and adolescents is a public health problem and diet can play a major role in this condition. We aimed to identify sex-specific dietary patterns (DP) and to evaluate the association with overweight/obesity in European adolescents. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis with 2327 adolescents aged between 12.5 to 17.5 years from a multicenter study across Europe. The body mass index was categorized in “normal weight” and “overweight/obesity”. Two non-consecutive 24-h dietary recalls were collected with a computerized self-reported software. Principal component factor analysis was used to identify DP. Mixed-effect logistic regression models were used to evaluate the association between the sex-specific DP and overweight/obesity outcome. As a result, we found three DP in boys (snacking and bread, Mediterranean diet, and breakfast) and four DP in girls (convenience, plant-based and eggs, Western, and breakfast). The association between DP and overweight/obesity highlights that those adolescents with higher adherence to the breakfast DP had lower odds for overweight/obesity, even after the inclusion of covariables in the adjustments. In European adolescents, the breakfast DP positively characterized by breakfast cereals, fruit, milk, and dairy and negatively characterized by sugar-sweetened beverages in boys and negatively characterized by cereals (pasta, rice, and others) in girls, was inversely associated with overweight/obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
11 pages, 625 KiB  
Article
Distribution of Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in School-Aged Children with Excess Body Weight in the Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates: A Cross-Sectional Study
Children 2021, 8(10), 884; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8100884 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
(1) Background: This study aimed to examine the distribution of cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRF) in school-aged children with excess body weight (overweight and obese) in Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates and identify the factors associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors between boys [...] Read more.
(1) Background: This study aimed to examine the distribution of cardiometabolic risk factors (CMRF) in school-aged children with excess body weight (overweight and obese) in Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates and identify the factors associated with increased cardiovascular risk factors between boys and girls. (2) Methods: A cross-sectional survey of children aged 6–17 years was conducted in Al Ain from 1 August 2019 to 31 December 2020. Binary logistic regression analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between excess body weight and CMRF between the groups and reported odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). (3) Results: A total of 966 school-aged children (490 boys and 476 girls) participated in the study, and the mean age of the children was 11.8 ± 2.9 years. The proportions of overweight and obesity were 13.5% and 10.2% in boys and 11.1% and 10.3% in girls. Higher glucose of ≥100 mg/dL (26.4%), triglycerides of ≥150 mg/dL and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: ≥130 mg/dL (23.2%) were more prevalent in children with excess body weight. These children were at least two times more likely to have higher triglycerides levels, high total cholesterol (≥200 mg/dL) in girls (OR:2.06, 95% CI: 1.01–4.21) and low high-density lipoprotein (<35 mg/dL) in boys (OR: 2.20; 95% CI: 1.12–4.31). (4) Conclusions: Excess body weight in school-aged children was associated with increased CMRF, particularly triglycerides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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7 pages, 907 KiB  
Article
Low Body Mass Index Levels and Idiopathic Scoliosis in Korean Children: A Cross-Sectional Study
Children 2021, 8(7), 570; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8070570 - 02 Jul 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2240
Abstract
Background: The prevalence of idiopathic scoliosis is rapidly increasing in Korean children, but research on the disorder is limited compared to that in other countries. Accordingly, in the present study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between idiopathic scoliosis and body mass index [...] Read more.
Background: The prevalence of idiopathic scoliosis is rapidly increasing in Korean children, but research on the disorder is limited compared to that in other countries. Accordingly, in the present study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between idiopathic scoliosis and body mass index (BMI) levels in Korean children. Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled elementary school students and middle school first graders in the Capital Area in Korea. The participants underwent body composition measurements and screening for idiopathic scoliosis. Idiopathic scoliosis was defined as a Cobb angle of ≥10°. The students were classified into three groups—the severely underweight (SUW: BMI < 16 kg/m2) group, the underweight group (UW: 16 ≤ BMI < 18.5 kg/m2), and the normal weight group (NW: 18.5 ≤ BMI < 25 kg/m2) to compare the risk of idiopathic scoliosis across BMI levels. Results: The final cohort comprised 1375 participants. The odds ratio (OR) of idiopathic scoliosis was 0.69 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50–0.94) and 0.66 (95% CI: 0.49–0.89) for the UW and the NW groups, respectively, with the SUW group as the reference. This shows that the risk decreased significantly by 31% and 34% in the UW and the NW groups, respectively. After controlling for age and sex, the corresponding ORs were 0.72 (95% CI: 0.52–0.98) and 0.70 (95% CI: 0.51–0.96), and the risk significantly decreased by 28% and 30% in the UW and the NW groups, respectively. Conclusions: Low body weight is closely associated with spinal deformity and idiopathic scoliosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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12 pages, 282 KiB  
Article
Anthropometric Development in Children: Possible Changes in Body Mass, Basal Metabolic Rate and Inflammatory Status
Children 2021, 8(6), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8060455 - 28 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1884
Abstract
(1) Background: Worldwide, public health policies focus on studying dietary patterns and the related anthropometric changes in children. Their aim is to improve the measures meant to reduce global malnutrition rates. Our goal was to study the main changes in the inflammatory status [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Worldwide, public health policies focus on studying dietary patterns and the related anthropometric changes in children. Their aim is to improve the measures meant to reduce global malnutrition rates. Our goal was to study the main changes in the inflammatory status related to anthropometric changes and total daily energy intake. (2) Methods: We tested the study hypothesis by analyzing serum IL-6 and IL-8 levels, cholesterol and triglycerides values, as well as total proteins and creatinine levels, RMR, and food journals in a sample of 160 healthy subjects aged between 6 and 12 years old. (3) Results: IL-6 was correlated with the skinfold values. Changes in the skinfolds were significantly correlated with total proteins and triglycerides. Both weight for age and height for age were related to the skinfold values. Through the BMR measurements, peak carbohydrate metabolism changed significantly based upon IL-6 values, which were significantly correlated with the respiratory coefficient values. Based on the basal metabolic rate, an increased IL-8 ratio was related to the RQ value. (4) Conclusions: Skinfolds have been significantly correlated with IL-6 and IL-8 levels. With changes in body weight, we encountered differences in both serum cholesterol and serum triglycerides values, unlike total proteins and creatinine, which failed to change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
9 pages, 686 KiB  
Article
A Household-Based Survey of Iodine Nutrition in Moroccan Children Shows Iodine Sufficiency at the National Level But Risk of Deficient Intakes in Mountainous Areas
Children 2021, 8(3), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030240 - 19 Mar 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2451
Abstract
Historically, mountainous areas of Morocco have been affected by endemic goiter and severe iodine deficiency. In 1995, Morocco legislated salt iodization to reduce iodine deficiency. There has been no national survey of iodine nutrition in school-age children for nearly 3 decades. Our aim [...] Read more.
Historically, mountainous areas of Morocco have been affected by endemic goiter and severe iodine deficiency. In 1995, Morocco legislated salt iodization to reduce iodine deficiency. There has been no national survey of iodine nutrition in school-age children for nearly 3 decades. Our aim was to assess iodine nutrition in a national sample of 6–12-year-old children in Morocco to inform the national salt iodization strategy. In this cross-sectional household-based survey, we randomly recruited healthy 6–12-year-old children from 180 clusters in four geographic zones (north and east, central, north and south) covering the 12 regions of Morocco. A questionnaire was completed, including socio-economic status and parental level of education. In addition, anthropometric measurements were taken to assess nutrition status, and a spot urine sample was collected to measure urinary iodine concentration (UIC). A total of 3118 households were surveyed, and 1043 eligible children were recruited, 56% from urban areas and 44% from rural areas. At the national level, the percentage of surveyed samples with UIC < 50 μg/L was 21.6% (19.2%; 24.2%), which exceeds the WHO suggestion of no more than 20% of samples below 50 μg/L, despite an adequate level of median urinary iodine concentration (mUIC) at 117.4 µg/L (110.2; 123.3). There were no statistically significant differences in mUIC comparing urban vs. rural areas and socio-economic status. However, the mUIC was significantly lower in the central (high-altitude non-coastal) zone (p < 0.004), where the mUIC (95% CI) was deficient at 89.2 µg/L (80.8; 102.9). There was also a significant difference in the mUIC by head of household education level (p = 0.008). The mUIC in Moroccan children >100 µg/L indicates iodine sufficiency at the national level. However, the percentage of surveyed samples with UIC < 50 μg/L above suggests that a significant proportion of children remain at risk for iodine deficiency, and it appears those at greatest risk are residing in the central (high altitude non-coastal) zone. A national level mUIC value may conceal discrepancies in iodine intake among different sub-groups, including those defined by geographic region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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8 pages, 229 KiB  
Article
Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Their Association with Breastfeeding and Child Weight Outcomes
Children 2021, 8(3), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8030233 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2212
Abstract
Children of mothers with depressive symptoms are at a higher risk for psychosocial, behavioral, and developmental problems. However, the effects of maternal depression on children’s physical growth are not well understood. To address the gaps in the literature, this study examined the association [...] Read more.
Children of mothers with depressive symptoms are at a higher risk for psychosocial, behavioral, and developmental problems. However, the effects of maternal depression on children’s physical growth are not well understood. To address the gaps in the literature, this study examined the association between maternal depressive symptoms, breastfeeding behaviors, and child weight outcomes. Data from 204 mother–child dyads who participated in the STRONG Kids 1 Study were used. Mothers and children were assessed twice when the children were 3 and 4 years old. Height and weight measurements of children and mothers were collected by trained researchers during both assessments. Multiple linear regression and analysis of covariance tests were used to examine the associations between maternal depressive symptoms, breastfeeding, and age and sex-adjusted child body mass index percentile. Recurrent maternal depressive symptoms when the child was 3 and 4 years old were not associated with child body mass index percentiles (BMI-P) at age 4. Mothers who breastfed for at least 6 months had significantly lower depressive symptoms when their children were 3 years of age, but the differences did not persist at age 4. In this community sample, maternal depressive symptoms were not associated with child BMI-P, regardless of breastfeeding duration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
7 pages, 191 KiB  
Article
Antihistamines Increase Body Mass Index Percentiles and Z-Scores in Hispanic Children
Children 2020, 7(12), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/children7120305 - 17 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2906
Abstract
The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased over the years in the United States and contributed to a rise in metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Animal studies suggested the role of histamine blockade on mesenteric lymphatics tone, contributing to weight [...] Read more.
The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased over the years in the United States and contributed to a rise in metabolic syndrome and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Animal studies suggested the role of histamine blockade on mesenteric lymphatics tone, contributing to weight gain and hepatic steatosis. This study aimed to investigate an association between antihistamines (AH) use in children and obesity. A single-center retrospective cohort study on children with a diagnosis of NAFLD, followed in the gastroenterology clinic, was performed between January 2018 and April 2019. The demographics, medications, and body mass index (BMI) were assessed. Participants were divided into an AH group with documented use and comparison group, antihistamine naïve. Of the 32 participants in the study, 13 used AH, and 19 did not. Antihistamine users had a mean increase in BMI percentile per year of 1.17 compared to a decrease of 0.06 in comparison group (p = 0.0008). AH usage correlated with a mean increase in BMI z-score of 0.23 per year, as opposed to a decrease by 0.012 in comparison group (p = 0.0016). No difference was found in triglycerides (TG), glucose, and liver enzymes. AH use increases BMI percentiles and z-scores over time and is associated with obesity in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)

Review

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16 pages, 1614 KiB  
Review
Effect of Air Pollution on Obesity in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Children 2021, 8(5), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8050327 - 23 Apr 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 6769
Abstract
Air pollution exposure has been identified as being associated with childhood obesity. Nevertheless, strong evidence of such an association is still lacking. To analyze whether air pollution exposure affects childhood obesity, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis utilizing the PRISMA guidelines. Of [...] Read more.
Air pollution exposure has been identified as being associated with childhood obesity. Nevertheless, strong evidence of such an association is still lacking. To analyze whether air pollution exposure affects childhood obesity, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis utilizing the PRISMA guidelines. Of 7343 studies identified, eight studies that investigated the effects of air pollutant characteristics, including PM2.5, PM10, PMcoarse, PMabsorbance, NOx, and NO2, on childhood obesity were included. The polled effects showed that air pollution is correlated with a substantially increased risk of childhood obesity. PM2.5 was found to be associated with a significantly increased risk (6%) of childhood obesity (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02–1.10, p = 0.003). In addition, PM10, PM2.5absorbance, and NO2 appeared to significantly increase the risk of obesity in children (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.04–1.10, p < 0.00; OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.06–1.43, p = 0.07; and OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.04–1.16, p < 0.001, respectively). PMcoarse and NOx also showed trends towards being associated with an increased risk of childhood obesity (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.95–1.20, p = 0.291, and OR 1.00, 95% CI 0.99–1.02, p = 0.571, respectively). Strong evidence was found to support the theory that air pollution exposure is one of the factors that increases the risk of childhood obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Research on Nutrition and Childhood Obesity)
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