Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poor Physical Control Linked To Obesity

“A study published on reports that an increased risk of obesity later in life is associated with poor physical control and coordination during childhood. These findings, suggested by Walter Osika and Scott Montgomery (Orebro University Hospital, Orebro, Sweden), are yet another piece of evidence that correlates type 2 diabetes in adults, obesity, and poor cognitive function in childhood. The researchers studied a sample of 11,042 individuals who have participated in the National Child Development Study in Great Britain - an active program since 1958. To test physical control and coordination, teachers evaluated 7,990 participants at age 7 for level of hand control, coordination, and clumsiness; doctors tested 6,875 of the participants for hand control and coordination at age 11. The battery of tests consisted of copying a simple design to measure accuracy, marking squares on paper within a minute, and picking up 20 matches. Participants then had body mass index (BMI) measurements taken at age 33, where obesity was defined as a BMI of 30 or over. According to the researchers, the 7-year olds who had poorer hand control and coordination and were more clumsy were more likely to become obese adults. Similarly, poorer function at age 11 was positively correlated with obesity at age 33. Statistically adjusting for possible confounding factors such as childhood body mass and family social class did not change the researchers' conclusions. The authors write that, ‘Some early life exposures [such as maternal smoking during pregnancy] or personal characteristics may impair the development of physical control and coordination, as well as increasing the risk of obesity in later life.’ They conclude: ‘Rather than being explained by a single factor, an accumulation throughout life of many associated cultural, personal, and economic exposures is likely to underlie the risks for obesity and some elements of associated neurological function.’”

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