Early Childhood Provides Key To Preventing Metabolic Syndrome

Researches at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health have found that living in poverty does not lead to obesity in young children. Moreover, the study claims that childhood is an ideal time to prevent the metabolic syndrome many adults suffer from later in life due to poverty.

The study is one of the first to identify the disassociation between childhood poverty and obesity and adulthood poverty and obesity. These findings could make it possible to ingrain healthy lifestyle habits in children during this time period, regardless of economic status.

"Early childhood is protective and presents a very short-lived window for intervention to ensure cardio-metabolic health in the future," said Jim Finks, the study's principal investigator.

Social stress and poor nutrition

The study reports that social stressors and poor nutrition habits are leading causes of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity. These findings mark childhood as a unique time period in which kids are more likely to be immune to the ill effects poverty has on adults.

“Understanding when metabolic dysfunction emerges due to environmental exposures is critical to our understanding of the process,” said Richard Scribner, Professor of Epidemiology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Public Health. “Our study found that children exposed to neighborhoods characterized by concentrated disadvantage seem to be protected from the effects of the stressful environment – a protection that may be lost after puberty.”

Researchers admitted that studying individuals from childhood through adulthood is needed to discover the window of time in which poverty does negatively impact metabolic syndromes - which can help to help maximize intervention techniques.

Source: Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

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