Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Childhood coordination linked to obesity
Children who have poor physical control and coordination have a higher risk of being obese in later life, a new study suggests.
The research, published on bmj.com, found that at age seven years poor hand control, poor coordination and clumsiness occurred more often among individuals who would be obese adults.
In addition, poorer function at age 11 was associated with obesity at age 33.
The researchers from Orebro University hospital, Sweden, and Imperial College London argue that the findings contribute to a growing body of evidence on the link between poorer cognitive function in childhood and obesity and type two diabetes in adults.
They studied 11,042 individuals who are part of the ongoing National Child Development Study in Great Britain, which began in 1958.
Nearly 8,000 participants were assessed by teachers at age seven years to identify poor ability in hand control, coordination, and clumsiness, and 6,875 were tested for hand control and coordination at age 11 by a doctor.
Tests included copying a simple design to measure accuracy, marking squares on paper within a minute, and the time in seconds it took to pick up 20 matches.
The link between childhood coordination and adult obesity remained even when the researchers took other factors into account, such as childhood body mass and family social class.
"Some early life exposures [such as maternal smoking during pregnancy] or personal characteristics may impair the development of physical control and coordination, as well as increasing the risk of obesity in later life," the researchers conclude.
"Rather than being explained by a single factor, an accumulation throughout life of many associated cultural, personal, and economic exposures is likely to underlie the risks for obesity and some elements of associated neurological function."