Posted on: October 18th, 2022

Childhood obesity has been a major public health concern for years now–a well-warranted concern, as cases continue to go up. The most recent studies of childhood obesity in the US have noted that nearly 20% of children are considered medically obese.

Research on childhood obesity and how to combat it have been popular areas of research for years. Many studies observe the effects certain foods have on childhood obesity and what this may mean for diets.

A recent study conducted by researchers in Brazil observed how chia seeds affect the overall health of obese children.

Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a medical condition in which high levels of body fat interfere with a person’s well-being. Many comorbid conditions can appear or be exacerbated due to obesity. 

Among the chief concerns with rising levels of childhood obesity are connections to:

  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Psychological effects (depression, anxiety, & self-esteem issues arising from body image)

Childhood obesity often leads to obesity in adulthood, meaning some of the associated problems & conditions may become lifelong.

What Causes Childhood Obesity?

While there are many factors that can contribute to childhood obesity (gender, race, genetics, environment, etc.), one factor stands above all: diet. Unrestricted diets contribute more to childhood obesity than any other factor.

Diets high in calories, and sugar, and low in foods that deliver nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals are often associated with higher chances of obesity. These ‘unhealthy’ diets compound with sedentary lifestyles and other environmental factors to greatly increase the risk of developing childhood obesity.

Chia Seeds & Childhood Obesity

Researchers in Brazil conducted a study to specifically look at how chia seeds affect childhood obesity. Why chia seeds? Preliminary clinical studies suggested that eating chia seeds is associated with reduced appetite, and lower cardiovascular risk factors such as postprandial glycemia and waist circumference.

The goal of the study was to analyze the relationship between vitamin E and oxidative stress with ground chia seeds. The effects of chia seeds on the inflammatory process in obese children between the ages of 5 and 10 years were the primary points of observation.

Despite altering the inflammatory responses, the study did not identify a significant variation in vitamin E concentrations in participants. There was, however, a greater variation in vitamin serum levels in the chia group than in the placebo group. This is attributed to the method used to evaluate vitamin E levels (vitamin E content in plasma, which can be misleading due its great instability) and the small number of children in the sample.

Chia seeds may have an anti-inflammatory effect on people when regularly consumed, however, the research was not sufficient to show any relation between anti-inflammatory properties and positive effects on obesity.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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