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      A descriptive study of biological and psychosocial factors associated with body mass index for age, in adolescents attending an outpatient department at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital

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          To describe biological and psychosocial factors associated with body mass index (BMI) for age in adolescents attending an outpatient department at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.


          A total of 50 adolescents participated in a convenience sampling research study. BMIs were calculated using their weights and heights to distinguish different weight categories based on the 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts. Based on their BMIs, participants were categorised as underweight, normal body weight, overweight and obese. The association between the BMIs of the biological parents and their adolescent children was investigated using the Fisher’s exact test. The data collection included adolescents’ demographic information, psychiatric diagnosis, psychiatric medication, nutritional intake, eating habits and the intensity of physical activity such as sports, leisure and sedentary behaviour.


          The study was conducted at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital’s adolescents outpatient department.


          Of the participants, 72% were males. Forty-eight per cent of all the adolescents had a normal BMI, mostly of black African descent. When comparing the adolescents’ BMI with that of their biological mothers, 50% of those who were obese also had mothers who were mostly obese (53.8%). The Fisher’s exact test indicated a statistically significant association between the BMI categories of mothers and those of their adolescent children (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.032). Despite the above association, no significant association could be found regarding their nutritional intake and eating habits. Also, no significant association was found between the adolescents’ BMIs and the use of psychotropic medication, as compared with other previous studies. Furthermore, no association could be found between adolescents’ BMI categories and the level of intensity of physical activity such as sports and leisure activities or sedentary behaviours.


          This study supports previous findings that a significant association exists between maternal and childhood obesity. The association between BMI and psychotropic medication, nutritional intake and eating habits, and level of physical activity could not be confirmed in our study. The study results were limited by the small sample size and the convenience sampling method. Although this was only a descriptive study, it highlighted the complexity of biological and psychosocial factors involved in weight gain. Further studies are needed to explore the interplay of physical and environmental risk factors for childhood obesity, as well as to ensure early identification and education of patients and their families to prevent development of obesity.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Long-term impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence on morbidity and premature mortality in adulthood: systematic review.

          The last systematic review on the health consequences of child and adolescent obesity found little evidence on consequences for adult health. The present study aimed to summarize evidence on the long-term impact of child and adolescent obesity for premature mortality and physical morbidity in adulthood. Systematic review with evidence searched from January 2002 to June 2010. Studies were included if they contained a measure of overweight and/or obesity between birth and 18 years (exposure measure) and premature mortality and physical morbidity (outcome) in adulthood. Five eligible studies examined associations between overweight and/or obesity, and premature mortality: 4/5 found significantly increased risk of premature mortality with child and adolescent overweight or obesity. All 11 studies with cardiometabolic morbidity as outcomes reported that overweight and obesity were associated with significantly increased risk of later cardiometabolic morbidity (diabetes, hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, and stroke) in adult life, with hazard ratios ranging from 1.1-5.1. Nine studies examined associations of child or adolescent overweight and obesity with other adult morbidity: studies of cancer morbidity were inconsistent; child and adolescent overweight and obesity were associated with significantly increased risk of later disability pension, asthma, and polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms. A relatively large and fairly consistent body of evidence now demonstrates that overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence have adverse consequences on premature mortality and physical morbidity in adulthood.
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            Interventions for preventing obesity in children.

            Prevention of childhood obesity is an international public health priority given the significant impact of obesity on acute and chronic diseases, general health, development and well-being. The international evidence base for strategies that governments, communities and families can implement to prevent obesity, and promote health, has been accumulating but remains unclear. This review primarily aims to update the previous Cochrane review of childhood obesity prevention research and determine the effectiveness of evaluated interventions intended to prevent obesity in children, assessed by change in Body Mass Index (BMI). Secondary aims were to examine the characteristics of the programs and strategies to answer the questions "What works for whom, why and for what cost?" The searches were re-run in CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO and CINAHL in March 2010 and searched relevant websites. Non-English language papers were included and experts were contacted. The review includes data from childhood obesity prevention studies that used a controlled study design (with or without randomisation). Studies were included if they evaluated interventions, policies or programs in place for twelve weeks or more. If studies were randomised at a cluster level, 6 clusters were required. Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed the risk of bias of included studies.  Data was extracted on intervention implementation, cost, equity and outcomes. Outcome measures were grouped according to whether they measured adiposity, physical activity (PA)-related behaviours or diet-related behaviours.  Adverse outcomes were recorded. A meta-analysis was conducted using available BMI or standardised BMI (zBMI) score data with subgroup analysis by age group (0-5, 6-12, 13-18 years, corresponding to stages of developmental and childhood settings). This review includes 55 studies (an additional 36 studies found for this update). The majority of studies targeted children aged 6-12 years.  The meta-analysis included 37 studies of 27,946 children and demonstrated that programmes were effective at reducing adiposity, although not all individual interventions were effective, and there was a high level of observed heterogeneity (I(2)=82%).  Overall, children in the intervention group had a standardised mean difference in adiposity (measured as BMI or zBMI) of -0.15kg/m(2) (95% confidence interval (CI): -0.21 to -0.09).  Intervention effects by age subgroups were -0.26kg/m(2) (95% CI:-0.53 to 0.00) (0-5 years), -0.15kg/m(2) (95% CI -0.23 to -0.08) (6-12 years), and -0.09kg/m(2) (95% CI -0.20 to 0.03) (13-18 years). Heterogeneity was apparent in all three age groups and could not explained by randomisation status or the type, duration or setting of the intervention.  Only eight studies reported on adverse effects and no evidence of adverse outcomes such as unhealthy dieting practices, increased prevalence of underweight or body image sensitivities was found.  Interventions did not appear to increase health inequalities although this was examined in fewer studies. We found strong evidence to support beneficial effects of child obesity prevention programmes on BMI, particularly for programmes targeted to children aged six to 12 years. However, given the unexplained heterogeneity and the likelihood of small study bias, these findings must be interpreted cautiously. A broad range of programme components were used in these studies and whilst it is not possible to distinguish which of these components contributed most to the beneficial effects observed, our synthesis indicates the following to be promising policies and strategies:·         school curriculum that includes healthy eating, physical activity and body image·         increased sessions for physical activity and the development of fundamental movement skills throughout the school week·         improvements in nutritional quality of the food supply in schools·         environments and cultural practices that support children eating healthier foods and being active throughout each day·         support for teachers and other staff to implement health promotion strategies and activities (e.g. professional development, capacity building activities)·         parent support and home activities that encourage children to be more active, eat more nutritious foods and spend less time in screen based activitiesHowever, study and evaluation designs need to be strengthened, and reporting extended to capture process and implementation factors, outcomes in relation to measures of equity, longer term outcomes, potential harms and costs.Childhood obesity prevention research must now move towards identifying how effective intervention components can be embedded within health, education and care systems and achieve long term sustainable impacts.  
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              Association Between ADHD and Obesity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

              Impulsivity and inattention related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may increase food intake and, consequently, weight gain. However, findings on the association between obesity/overweight and ADHD are mixed. The authors conducted a meta-analysis to estimate this association.

                Author and article information

                [1 ]Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Pretoria
                [2 ]Department of Statistics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Deborah van der Westhuizen, debbie.mervitz@
                S Afr J Psychiatr
                S Afr J Psychiatr
                The South African Journal of Psychiatry : SAJP : the Journal of the Society of Psychiatrists of South Africa
                31 August 2017
                : 23
                © 2017. The Authors

                Licensee: AOSIS. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

                Original Research


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