Obese Children at Higher Risk of Gallstones

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  September 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM Health Watch   - G J E 4
Obese children are at an increased risk of developing gallstones, claims a new study.
Obese Children at Higher Risk of Gallstones
Obese Children at Higher Risk of Gallstones

A recent study revealed that children and adolescents who were above the average weight were twice as likely to suffer from gallstone disease in comparison to children and adolescents who had a normal body mass index (BMI).

Gallstone disease is a major health problem. Common symptoms include recurrent abdominal pain and nausea. However, many people with this problem show no symptoms.

Stones in the gall bladder can block bile from passing into the intestine and this can cause severe damage or infection in the gallbladder, liver, or pancreas. If left untreated, the condition can result in the death of the patient.

The present study has been published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.

It was observed that children who were moderately obese were four times more at risk of developing gallstones, while those who were extremely obese were six times more at risk of the disease.

The study was based on the information gathered from the electronic health records of approximately 510,000 children aged 10 - 19 years, between the years 2007 - 2009, who belonged to Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

The diversity and massive size of the population that formed the study subjects allowed researchers to delve into the racial and ethnic disparities prevalent in the American population. It was observed that the Hispanic youth were more prone to develop gall stones than children from any other community.

Corinna Koebnick, the lead author of the study from Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, said that although gall stones were common in obese people, it was quite uncommon in children and adolescents.

The link between obesity and gall stones was more common in girls than in boys. Also, obese girls were six to eight times more likely to have gallstones than girls with normal weight, while obese boys were two to three times more likely to have gallstones compared to their normal counterparts.

The recent findings disclose an alarming trend wherein overweight or obese youth develop diseases that were once considered as exclusively adult conditions. Since obesity is widely prevalent doctors, must learn to recognize the various consequences of such new trends.

Source: Medindia

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