“, said first author of the study, Dr Christine Frithioff-Bøjsøe, of the Pediatric Obesity Clinic, European Center for Obesity Management, Copenhagen University Hospital Holbaek, Holbaek, Denmark.
“Childhood overweight is commonly followed in adolescence and adulthood and is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic conditions in later life. Therefore, early identification and treatment of overweight offers an important opportunity to improve a child’s health for years to come.. “
The study, led by Dr Frithioff-Bøjsøe, Professor Jens-Christian Holm and colleagues at the Childhood Obesity Clinic, aimed to explore whether using existing associations in the healthcare sector The first step to detect overweight at an early age is realistic or not. .
Dental assistants and public health nurses have been trained in measuring weight and height and performing BMI assessments during routine dental clinic appointments and during school physicals.
Dental assistants recruited 335 preschool children (aged 2.5 and 5 years) for the study. More than 657 school-age children (6-8 years old) were recruited by public health nurses, bringing the total number of participants to 992 (494 boys).
All children were assessed for BMI at the start of the study. A subgroup of 392 children had their blood pressure measured and blood samples taken, tested for a range of cardiometabolic risk markers.
BMI assessments and other tests were repeated about a year later.
At the start of the study, the proportion of children who were overweight was 13.7% in both groups (preschool children and school children).
Differences in cardiometabolic risk markers between children with and without overweight were small in preschoolers.
In schoolchildren, however, there were clear differences in blood test results between those who were overweight and those in the normal weight range.
Overweight students had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and alanine aminotransferase, which may indicate a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease.
The degree of overweight did not change in preschool children when they were measured again about a year later but rose to 17% in school children.
The study’s authors say their study shows that it’s realistic to use existing health services, including dental clinics, to assess overweight in children in general. .
Dr Frithioff-Bøjsøe adds: “We also overcame barriers identified in other studies, including concerns about lack of adequate training, offending patients and caregivers, and stigmatizing children.. “
The researchers say that although the levels of the risk marker measured in the study remained within the normal range, the increase is still a concern, especially at such a young age.
Dr. Frithioff-Bojsoe explains: “By the age of 11, 15-20% will be overweight and a large group will subsequently present with high blood cholesterol levels, fatty liver disease or prediabetes, as well as severely affected quality of life. . Therefore, early detection of these changes would be a big step forward in preventing the development of the disease. “
The authors conclude:We found an increase in risk markers for heart and liver disease and diabetes in overweight students. These changes were undetectable just a few years earlier in overweight preschoolers and suggest that preschool age – as early as 2.5 years – may provide an important opportunity to detect and overweight management.
“This will therefore allow weight loss interventions to start early and reduce the risk of children becoming overweight as adults or even adolescents with overweight and other medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes.. “