AHA: Poor Diets May Cause Obese Teens' Metabolic Issues

Obese youth have inflammation, insulin resistance, and high homocysteine levels

WEDNESDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- Obese youths may have insulin resistance and inflammation as well as higher homocysteine levels, which may be associated with poor diets, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions, held from March 22 to 25 in Atlanta.

Ashutosh Lal, M.D., of the Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, Calif., and colleagues compared the results of food frequency questionnaires and fasting blood samples in more than 30 obese youths, aged 11 to 19 years, to 19 age-matched youths of normal weight. Minorities were disproportionately represented among obese youth.

The investigators found that obese youth had C-reactive protein levels nearly 10 times higher than controls, indicating more inflammation among obese youth. In addition, obese youth were insulin resistant and had homocysteine levels that were 62 percent higher than controls. Total glutathione levels were 27.9 percent lower and oxidized glutathione levels were 125 percent higher among obese youth as compared with controls. In terms of food consumption, both obese and normal-weight children reported consuming similar amounts of grains, proteins, fats, and total calories. However, obese youth reported significantly fewer servings of dairy products and tended towards fewer fruit servings as compared to controls, with obese children's diets lower in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin A.

"Obese teens were consuming too few of the natural sources of anti-oxidants, fruits and vegetables, and may have increased antioxidant needs based on the inflammation associated with their extra adiposity," Lal said in a statement. "For their heart health, obese teens need to eat better, not just eat less."

Abstract No. P067
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