27 Aug 2012, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: According to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, children who are overweight or obese face an increased risk for gallstones. The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders.
Researchers found that children and adolescents who were overweight were twice as likely to have gallstone disease, compared to children and adolescents who had a normal body mass index. Those who were moderately obese were four times as likely to have gallstones and those who were extremely obese were six times as likely to have gallstones. The study was based on information in the electronic health records of more than 510,000 children ages ten-to-19, from 2007 through 2009, who were members of Kaiser Permanente Southern California.
The study is part of ongoing research and community programs that aim to identify and treat childhood obesity. The Kaiser Permanente Southern California Children's Health study found that 7.3 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls under the age of 20 years are extremely obese.
Researchers found a stronger association between obesity and gallstones in girls than in boys. Girls who were obese and extremely obese were six and eight times more likely, respectively, to have gallstones than girls who were underweight or of normal weight, while obese and severely obese boys were more than twice and three times as likely to have gallstones as their normal or underweight counterparts.
Dr Corinna Koebnick, study lead author, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation, said that, "Although gallstones are relatively common in obese adults, gallstones in children and adolescents have been historically rare. These findings add to an alarming trend. Youth who are obese or extremely obese are more likely to have diseases we normally think of as adult conditions."