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Obesity in Children Can Affect Brain Development

Obesity in Children Can Affect Brain Development

Childhood obesity can cause long-term health problems. Starting from an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, to depression and decreased self-confidence. In fact, recent studies have also shown that obesity is also bad for children's brain development.

According to the study, children who are obese have structural differences in one part of their brain. In fact, this part is very important for the learning abilities of children who are growing and developing.

Effect of obesity on the development of a child's brain

Children who are obese tend to have unhealthy eating patterns. Some researchers from the University of Vermont, United States, suspect this has something to do with the child's ability to make decisions.

They also conduct research to find out whether obesity does affect the child's brain. The study used data from about 10,000 children and adolescents collected by the National Institute of Health.

Children and adolescents in the study were monitored for 10 years. Every two years, the researchers conducted interviews, brain scans, and a series of tests, and took their blood samples.

The result, obesity can indeed affect the development of a child's brain. Children who have a high body mass index (BMI) tend to have thinner cerebral cortex. Especially in the area of ​​the brain's prefrontal cortex.

The cerebral cortex is the main layer that makes up your brain. This section has many folds and wrinkles of grayish color. Its functions are so diverse, ranging from thinking, speaking, remembering, speaking, and much more.

Meanwhile, the prefrontal cortex is an area in the front of the brain. This area plays a role when you plan, make decisions, control yourself, shape personality, and perform similar functions.

Does this mean obesity impairs a child's brain development?

Obesity can indeed affect children's brain development. However, that does not mean the child's brain becomes damaged because of it. This finding also needs to be reexamined because it is not yet clear whether obesity or depletion of the brain cortex occurs first.

The researchers suspect that changes in brain structure in obese children are caused by inflammation. Obesity can indeed trigger inflammation, and long-term inflammation may affect the development of children's brain cells.

Thinner cerebral cortex can affect children's ability to make decisions, including when choosing eating patterns. Instead of choosing vegetables and fruit, they tend to enjoy eating foods high in sugar and trans fat.

How to prevent the adverse effects of obesity on children

Without guidance from parents, this wrong eating pattern can continue until the child is growing up. Obesity will also get worse and increase the risk of various long-term health problems.

You can prevent this by encouraging your child to undergo a healthy diet. Some steps you can take include:

  • Provides a variety of proteins such as meat, chicken, fish, eggs, and beans.
  • Provides a variety of vegetables and fruits at home.
  • Provide enough food.
  • Limit foods high in sugar and trans fat.
  • Familiarize children drinking water.
  • Make a healthy snack.

Obesity can cause various effects on health, including affecting the development of the child's brain. However, a healthy diet can help prevent this so that your child grows and develops optimally.