Conflicting research on fat kids and their health
I have three articles for y'all today, all of them about children's health, and all of them seem to be conflicting with each other (but then, what else is new with obesity research in general, right?).
The first article is Overweight Teens Typically Eat Less Than Normal-Weight Peers. This one seems like a no-brainer to me, since it's also true of "overweight/obese" adults and studies have proved that time and time again. The thing that's infuriating about the article is that it's blaming these teens for being fat in the first place because - wait for it - they overate as toddlers/young children. What it doesn't take into consideration is that maybe, just maybe, these teens are eating less than their peers because of the bullying they face for being fat, the blame and shame they face every day from every source there is because they don't fit society's "ideal" body shape, or the blame and shame they get from their doctors who ignore their metabolic health in favor of that dreaded number on the scale.
The second article is Taste Buds Less Sensitive In Obese Kids. This study has all kinds of problems with it, that I can see, anyway. First of all, 85% of the fat kids were from lower socioeconomic classes, they didn't control for gender differences, and the only thing they really did control for was whether the kids were fat or "normal-weight". The conclusion they reached was that fat kids have trouble identifying the intensity of sweet and salty until something is either very sweet or very salty (ergo, that's why fat kids eat too many sweets or too many salty snacks and are fat, I guess).
All of these kids were between the ages of 6 and 18, so I'm wondering how many of them had been on diets (and since they all came from the hospital's pediatric obesity center, you can almost guarantee that most of them have dieted at least once. So did the researchers take into consideration how that affects one's sense of taste? Did they take into consideration what the children normally ate on a daily basis? That can affect one's sense of taste. There are just too many variables to know if this study has any value.
The third article is More Exercise Cuts Kids' Diabetes Risk. The problem I have with this study is that they're saying that 28% of these kids were pre-diabetic and the aerobic exercise lowered their insulin AUC by "2.96 mU/mL relative to control in the low-dose exercise group and by 3.56 mU/mL versus control in the high-dose group". Without knowing what they considered pre-diabetic (the starting diagnostic for insulin AUC), I'm not sure I'd consider that a significant drop (going from 100 to 97 isn't a big deal with a fasting blood sugar, and if 95 is the number at which they say you're not pre-diabetic, is this really a big deal after all?). And one semester of activity, with no follow-up? WTF? Are they really aiming to improve these kids' health, or are they just using them as guinea pigs to prove a point? Because if the activity isn't continued, the improvements aren't going to be maintained, and where does that leave these kids, health-wise? Sure, their insulin AUC improved for a while, and they lost some visceral fat, and improved their aerobic fitness, but if they don't continue the activity sponsored by the research, all of those improvements could be lost. I really don't see a school continuing a sports program where movement for movement's sake is the goal, rather than winning at any cost, do you? And that was the carrot to get these kids moving - participate in the sport whether they were good at it or not, have fun with it, and who cared about winning or losing as long as they played. That's not the way schools do sports.