A new study found that girls are more likely than boys to develop obesity-related metabolic changes, such as high blood pressure and excessive blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (dyslipidemia).
The study was conducted in Brazil on 92 adolescents. The results of this study were published in Frontiersin Nutrition.
This study was supported by FAPESP by scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICB-USP) at the University of São Paulo and the University of São Paulo Medical Sciences (FCM-SCMSP).
According to the authors, obese girls showed patterns of lipid profile changes not found in non-obese girls and were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
“We found that girls were much more likely to experience changes typical of obesity, such as high blood pressure and dyslipidemia. In our study, girls were triglycerides and LDL, the so-called” bad cholesterol. , But HDL was lower than “good cholesterol” than well-nourished [normal weight] Girl. ” The first author of the article, Estefania Simoes, said.
According to the researchers, the lipid profile of obese boys included in the study did not show a significant difference from the lipid profile of normal-weight boys.
Childhood obesity is of increasing concern among health authorities and scientists in this area. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2016, approximately 340 million children aged 5 to 19 years were overweight or obese worldwide. It is well known that childhood obesity is associated with an increased likelihood of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
Although considerable studies have shown this, the differences between boys and girls in the effects of obesity have not been studied in detail.
“We compare obese and non-obese girls and boys aged 11-18 years and at the same time work on anthropometry, lipid and lipoprotein profiles, hormone and neuropeptide levels, with a particular focus on sex-dependent responses. As far as we know, this is the first study to take this multifactorial approach. “
The study was conducted in collaboration with neurologist and psychiatrist Ricardo Ryoiti Uchida, who was a senior researcher at the Childhood Obesity Outpatient Clinic in Santa Casa de Micelli Cordia Hospital in São Paulo and recruited 92 participants. It was.
Uchida sought to use neuroimaging to determine if there were changes in the brain regions associated with satiety and appetite in obese subjects.
“Articles on this topic are about to be published with a focus on the characterization of the central nervous system in obese patients. Uchida has been studying adolescent obesity for many years,” said Simoes.
The SCMSP team measures the subject’s blood pressure, collects blood samples, and is hungry for total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and ultra-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Cholesterol concentration was measured. (VLDL), and triglyceride (TG).
Researchers also used a special purpose questionnaire to look for bulimia patterns and addiction to high-sugar and high-fat foods. They also measured neuropeptides associated with neurohumoral changes and detected significant changes in obese subjects. Neuropeptides are released in response to peripheral signals such as hormones that regulate appetite and energy balance.
“In addition, leptin and insulin interact with the neuropeptides NPY, MCH, and a-MSH, which not only regulate appetite but also activate the sympathetic nervous system, which can contribute to obesity-related hypertension. There is sex, “says Simoes.
New data on different profiles of hormones, cytokines, and neuropeptides in girls and boys indicate the need for individualized treatment.
“You may want to design a single treatment strategy based on drugs and dietary supplements, but our findings show that girls and boys respond differently to treatment, even if they are the same weight and age. Therefore, it indicates that it should not be treated in the same way. “Simoes said.
According to the second author of the article, Joanna Correia-Lima, the other two treatises were created using data collected from the same volunteer group. The first in the International Journal of Obesity focuses on the characterization of the inflammatory process, as systemic chronic inflammation is important for obese subjects.
“The lab, led by Professor Marilia Seelaender, co-author of both articles, has long studied the disorder of cachexia, the opposite of obesity. [extreme weight loss and muscle wasting, frequently in cancer and AIDS patients].. Systemic inflammation plays an important role in both, “said Correia-Lima.
“We focused first on inflammation, then on the role of hormones and how they relate to their predisposition to developing cardiovascular disease,” Correia-Lima added.
She added that most scientific publications on childhood obesity focus on a single specific change, such as inflammation or hormones, or a specific outcome of obesity, such as hypertension.
“Our study aimed to connect the dots. We have a large cohort and a large amount of data, so characterize the links in this group and how all the changes in obese organisms are. You can show if it’s related to. I’m showing these links. “
According to Simoes, it was the statistical analysis of the data by the researchers that provided these links.
“Elevated levels of hormones such as insulin and leptin [the satiety hormone] For example, it may be the cause of high blood pressure. “
“When treating obesity, this kind of information needs to be taken into account. Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, which actually alleviate one aspect of the disease,” said Simoes. You can, but if you know about other factors, the treatment will be more complete. “
Obesity is a multifactorial disease and treatment is not a panacea. Diet and exercise are important, but dosing may be required in addition to surgical intervention and psychotherapy.
“Questionnaire-based assessments point to eating disorders at the psychological level of these girls and boys, but show changes in neuropeptides and hormones, hypertension, inflammation, etc. That’s not the case with children, just organic problems, but psychological problems, “Simoes said.
“Therefore, childhood obesity studies are important to support early diagnosis and attempt timely treatment before the onset of adult complications,” Simoes concludes.