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Downs Syndrome Poses Obesity Risk

Dec 6, 2007
Having a wife that works with life skill students I know there are all type of problems that arise with special needs students. Its sad because with students and or adults who have special needs will struggle with those needs their entire life, and now obesity seems to be just one more issue. I'm not sure there is an answer to this problem, but it seems that those who have Down's Syndrome posse obesity Risk.

If your not sure what Downs Syndrome is, let me give you a working definition. It is a congenital disorder, caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome, in which the affected person has mild to moderate mental retardation, short stature, and a flattened facial profile. Also called trisomy

New research has shown that people who suffer from Down's Syndrome are more likely to become obese than those who do not have the condition.

Using families which had both children who had Down's Syndrome and brothers or sisters who did not, scientists were able to ensure that eating patterns offered by parents were very similar and that lifestyle choices and habits accrued as adults would not interfere with the study.

Monitoring 35 children with Down's Syndrome and 33 of their siblings who were free of the condition, researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that the Down's children had significantly higher body mass index and a higher percentage of body fat.

It was discovered that Down's Syndrome children had higher levels of leptin, a hormone linked to obesity, than their unaffected siblings. "The normal role of leptin is to suppress appetite and regulate body weight," explained senior author Dr Nicolas Stettler in the Jouranl of Paediatrics. "In general, obese people have higher levels of leptin, which suggests that they have some leptin resistance - their bodies do not respond to the hormone properly. Because Down's Syndrome is a chromosome disorder, children with Down's Syndrome may have a genetic predisposition to more severe leptin resistance."

Co-author Dr Sheela N Magge added: "Although the study had an advantage in including siblings as a control group, because this decreases the influence of different environments on children with or without Down's Syndrome, the sample size was limited, so larger studies are necessary. However, our findings may point to a useful approach to understanding why obesity often occurs in Down's Syndrome."

Around 60,000 people in the UK have Down's Syndrome and various charities have produced information for people with learning difficulties to advise them about making healthy eating choices which could help until more research is carried out.

I think as we advance in the fight against obesity and realize the effects it has, perhaps in the future this could be one less thing that people with special needs will have to battle. Because it seems in the earlier stages that people with Down's Syndrome poses obesity risk.
About the Author
Phillip Longmire has a business degree and is the creator of fitness village , a Blog dedicated to those trying to lose weight. He not only transformed his own life but is dedicated to helping others lose weight and live healthier lives.
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