Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Fat parents to blame for childhood obesity epidemic by over-feeding under-fives, British study claims

Complete and utter garbage. The most obvious conclusion from the findings is in fact that weight is genetically determined -- which we already know to be so

Overweight parents who simply feed their children too much at a young age are to largely blame for Britain’s childhood obesity crisis, a report will warn this week. The study claims that the Government may be misguided in its policy of trying to tackle the problem through expensive projects aimed at persuading children in primary school to eat healthily and exercise mored. Instead, the report suggests, they should focus on educating new parents and parents-to-be to feed their children less before they start school, so they do not become overweight in the first place. Parents must learn to reduce portion sizes it suggests.

The findings from one of the few long-term studies on childhood obesity in Britain show that daughters of overweight mothers are 10 times more likely to be obese by the time they reach the age of eight than a daughter born to a slim mother. [Which is entirely to be expected given the highly heredity determination of weight] Sons of obese fathers are six times more likely to be overweight, according to the research from scientists working on the EarlyBird Diabetes Project at the medical school in Plymouth.

Children of fat parents tended to be over-fed and under-exercised, setting them on a trajectory towards obesity, it found. The chief cause of weight gain, the report said, was “over-nutrition” of children by their parents.

One of the report’s co-authors, Terry Wilkin, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Peninsula Medical School, told The Daily Telegraph that the results showed "physical activity will help a child’s fitness but not his or her fatness”. Prof Wilkin, together with Dr Linda Voss from the school, said in the report: “We have found no evidence that physical inactivity precedes obesity, but good evidence that obesity precedes inactivity. “A picture is emerging from the EarlyBird study to suggest that weight gain trajectories are set early in life, perhaps very early, by some behavioural sympathy between obese parents and their same-sex offspring.”

More than 2.3million children in Britain are estimated to be overweight or obese and many under-12s already show signs of high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and liver disease. The Government has spent nearly £2billion over the past decade tackling obesity levels, with a large part of the money being spent on encouraging children to lead healthier lives. The figures include £733million on school sport, £650million on school food and £235million on play facilities.

However, the scientists said “the implications are clear [from the research] - strategies aimed at increasing physical activity, even if they ever achieved the increase, are unlikely to reduce BMI [Body Mass Index]. “The observation is important, because it may turn the causality of childhood obesity on its head. A large amount of money and effort has been directed at children in the belief that the prevention of childhood obesity would reduce adult obesity.

“Importantly the factors popularly associated with childhood obesity - poor school meals, lack of playing fields, insufficient PE at school, too much screen watching - appear to have little impact, at least at primary school age.”

The report said that while eight out of 10 obese adults were not overweight as children, “a high proportion of obese children are the offspring of overweight/obese adults. Maybe the focus of childhood obesity prevention should be on parents-to-be”.

The findings have been drawn from the EarlyBird research project, which has been taking blood tests, weight measurements and low level X-rays of the same group of 300 children for the past 10 years. This week's new "pointers" report, which is being published on the medical school's website, is the first time the scientists have started to draw conclusions from the long term study. Earlier research published in 2008 by the same scientists showed that more than 90 per cent of excess weight gained by girls before puberty is before they are five years old. The figure is 70 per cent for boys.

The project is due to complete in 2013 but there are now fears that the project could end this September because of lack of funds. Prof Wilkin said he had applied for further funding from the Government, but was turned down because EarlyBird is an observational project, rather than interventionist scheme.

A Department for Health spokesman said: "Our Change4Life campaign is aimed at families - parents and their children. Supporting them to eat better and move more to live longer and healthier lives. "As part of this, our Start4Life campaign launched in December, will support pregnant women and parents of babies give their families a 'good start for a healthier life'."


Stress may cause cancer in fruit-flies, study suggests

Stress may cause cells to become cancerous, Yale University scientists have found, in a study that also suggests new ways to attack the deadly disease

Until now, most researchers thought more than one cancer-causing mutation had to occur in the same cell to make tumors grow. But the Yale team, led by geneticist Tian Xu, found this can occur even if the mutations arise in different, nearby cells. "The bad news is that it is much easier for a tissue to accumulate mutations in different cells than in the same cell," said Tian, whose research was published online Jan. 13 in the journal Nature.

His team worked with fruit flies to study the activity of two genes involved in cancer: a gene called RAS that has been implicated in 30 percent of cancers, and a tumor-suppressing gene called scribble, which contributes to tumor development when mutated. Neither defective gene alone can cause cancer. Researchers in the Xu lab previously showed that a combination of the two within the same cell could trigger malignant tumors. The Yale team has now found these mutations need not coexist in one cell to cause tumors. A cell with only mutant RAS can develop into a malignant tumor if helped by a nearby cell with defective scribble.

The group also found stress conditions such as a wound could trigger cancer formation. For instance, RAS cells developed into tumors when a wound was induced in the tissue. The culprit underlying both phenomena turned out to be a chemical signaling process called JNK, which is activated by environmental stress conditions, Xu explained. "A lot of different conditions can trigger stress signaling: physical stress, emotional stress, infections, inflammation," Xu said. It's more "bad news for cancer," he added.

But the good news is that the research also identifies new targets to prevent and treat one of the deadliest diseases in the developed world, Xu said. The Yale team found that the JNK stress signaling travels from one cell to the next, but that the propagation can be blocked. "Better understanding of the underlying mechanism causing cancer always offers new tools to battle the disease," Xu said.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If weight is a genetically controlled disposition then why did such a genetic factor come about?

I am now convinced that the tables used to determine the ideal weight for people are based on fiction just as recent science has shown the recommended daily amount of sodium is completely off base.