The Medical News

The Medical News

The World Health Organization has estimated more than 340 million children and adolescents ages 5-19 are overweight or obese, and the epidemic has been linked to more deaths worldwide than those caused by being underweight. The Centers for Disease Control recently reported an estimated 1 in 5 children in the United States, ages 12-18, are living with prediabetes -; increasing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes as well as chronic kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. Efforts to stem the crisis have led clinicians and health professionals to examine both the nutritional and psychological factors of childhood obesity. In a new study led by the University of Notre Dame, researchers examined how various psychological characteristics of children struggling with their weight, such as loneliness, anxiety and shyness, combined with similar characteristics of their parents or guardians and family dynamics affect outcomes of nutritional intervention. What they found was a "network effect," suggesting a personalized, comprehensive approach to treatment could improve results of nutritional interventions. Psychological characteristics clearly have interactional effects. We can no longer simply view them as individualized risk factors to be assessed. We need to account for the specific characteristics for each child, viewing them as a holistic set for which to plan treatment." Nitesh Chawla, the Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame, director of the Center for Network and Data Science and a lead author of the study The Notre Dame team collaborated with the Centre for Nutritional Recovery and Education (CREN), a not-for-profit, nongovernmental nutritional clinic in São Paulo, Brazil, where patients participate in a two-year interdisciplinary treatment program including family counseling, nutritional workshops and various physical activities. Researchers analyzed the medical records and psychological assessments of 1,541 children who participated in the program. Related Stories



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