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Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy Linked to Subsequent Overweight Children

Posted Apr 18 2009 12:36am
This is a superb article with information coming from research done in the Netherlands. You see that childhood obesity is found worldwide, not just a crisis in the United States, and many countries are putting their heads together to make a difference in this global problem. I thought this article was especially interesting but could lead to some confusion or misconceptions in the lay, non-medical person. So I thought that this topic was perfect for clarifying a few points.
First and foremost, when and why are adenoidectomies and tonsillectomies done? There are many different reasons.... the most common are frequent infections, significant allergies, and sleep apnea. It was stated that there are more of these procedures done in the Netherlands (compared the US) which further adds validity to their studies -- makes sense, right? The more the same results are seen in more people, the more likely that they are true and represent the population well.
Secondly, here have been other prior studies that support this same theory that children, after having these procedures, show accelerated weight gain, possibly leading them to overweight and obesity.
Thirdly, and likely the most important point is that, as stated above, there are many different reasons why a child would need this procedure. Know that most, if not all, will cause that child to have growth problems, such as delay in growth. Therefore, once you have that problem removed such as by surgery, you will see what is called a "catch up growth" where the child is literally making up for lost time, nutritionally and physically.
So, does this automatically mean that my child will be overweight or obese after having this surgery? No. Does this mean that they are prone to being overweight? Yes. The research appears to indicate this. Why? Because children do just that... grow. And if having this procedure catches them in a critical growth period such as that of pre-adolescence, well there you go. So it makes perfect sense that all precautions must be taken to avoid this situation which includes educating yourself as a parent and your child in proper nutrition, a balanced diet, and an active lifestyle.

Pediatrics
April 2009
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