Research published in the online journal of Pediatrics finds a connection between a common cold virus and obesity in children.
The study examined 124 children, ages 8 to 18, 67 of which were considered to be obese. The majority of children—78 percent—who tested positive to exposure to Adenovirus 36 were obese. Children who were infected weighed roughly 50 pounds more than those not infected.
William F. Ryan Community Health Center’s Director of Pediatrics, Dr. Jessica Sessions, in an interview with CBS New York says she hopes that if there is truly a connection between the common cold and child obesity scientists should be able to create a vaccine for it.
Child obesity is becoming a national public health epidemic. The number of adolescents who are overweight has tripled since 1980, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and the prevalence among younger children has more than doubled. In addition to social problems, child obesity is causing heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes—medical problems physicians used to only see primarily in adults.
Health centers are in a unique position to evaluate, prevent, and treat obesity in children. Many health center patients participate in federal, state, and local health care and nutrition subsidy programs, such as WIC (Women, Infants, and Children nutrition program), the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These programs might provide an avenue for evaluating child obesity in a community, and could provide insight to prevention.
Is your health center active in preventing and treating obesity in children? Tell us about it!