Most common medical causes of obesity and weight gain in children, teens
Posted Sep 09 2009 10:38pm
Moving on to number 8 on the list of Top 10 culprits behind childhood obesity, we run into health problems -- sometimes there are hidden medical issues that make it very difficult to manage weight .
Most common medical issues leading to weight gain in children or teens:
Thyroid - Low levels of your thyroid hormone (a condition known as hypothyroidism) causes a slowed down metabolism leading your body to store more fat than you burn.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) - In teenage girls and women, this is a hormonal imbalance associated with irregular periods, acne, excessive facial hair, and infertility.
Chronic stress or depression - Yes, even children and teens seem to be stressed out these days and sown about one thing or the other. Stress causes higher levels of the hormone cortisol in the blood which causes weight gain. See links below for available resources.
Syndrome X is a constellation of symptoms and signs involving high blood levels of the hormone insulin and resistance to how it works. This causes other hormones related to weight control to not work as well causing the weight gain. Another less common cause but still seen is Cushing Syndrome (high blood cortisol levels).
Gene association - A hormone called leptin which is produced in fat tissue guided by a particular gene was discovered a few years back. It seems to mediate the body's energy expenditure.
Surgery - The research has shown that kids after having had their tonsils and adenoids removed are more likely to gain weight (Pediatrics Journal April 2004).
Most common medications leading to weight gain:
Corticosteroids, some antipsychotics, some antidepressants, some heart and blood pressure medications, some medications used to treat Type 2 diabetes (ironically enough), some anti-seizure medications, and some birth control pills (although this last one is debatable).
NOTE: If you suspect that the weight gain your child or teen is experiencing due to any medications, do NOT stop the medications on your own. It may be life-threatening to do so. Consult with your physician before making any changes.
It is very important to maintain open, honest and frequent lines of communication with your child or teen's primary physician. Weight issues and many other topics can be addressed in a timely fashion and solutions drawn up in time.
* Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society of Bariatric Physicians / American Board of Bariatric Medicine.