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
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
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.