Mindfulness Recorded To Control Obesity Among Children

Posted: Jan 21 2016, 9:07am CST | by , Updated: Jan 22 2016, 3:14pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Mindfulness Recorded to Control Obesity Among Children
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  • Mindfulness Could Prevent Obesity in children Kids

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According to recent research, the activity of the brain parts that control inhibition are stronger upon stimulation which could control obesity.

In a recent Elsevier article “Imbalance in Resting State Functional Connectivity is Associated with Eating Behaviors and Adiposity in Children" by lead author BettyAnn Chodkowski and her mentors, Ronald Cowan and Kevin Niswender, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, proved that the brain function among obese children is different from that of children who are not obese.

This difference, according to the research, indicates the proneness of the obese children to eat more. The brain function involved in eating is responsible for making children obese.

The dietary and activity habits along with the lethargic state of mind causes the brain to be engaged in sending impulsive signals to the body. This causes the children to eat more.

"We know the brain plays a big role in obesity in adults, but what we understand about the neurological connections associated with obesity might not apply to children," explained lead author BettyAnn Chodkowski, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

"We wanted to look at the way children's brains function in more detail so we can better understand what is happening neurologically in children who are obese."

The researchers defined three areas of the brain that may be related to weight and eating habits: the inferior parietal lobe, which is related to inhibition, the ability to override an automatic response; the frontal pole, which is related to impulsivity; and the nucleus which is associated with reward.

The scientists engaged Rockland Sample from 38 children aged 8-13. Five of the children were identified as obese, and six were overweight. The data collection included taking children's weights and the answers they gave to the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire, which describes the children's eating habits. The researchers also used MRI scans that showed the function of the three regions of the brain they wanted to study.

The results of the data revealed that there is a primary link between weight, eating behavior and balance in brain function. In children who act in habits that make them eat more, their part of the brain associated with being impulsive acts was found to be more strongly connected than the part of the brain associated with inhibition which causes them to eat more.

Similarly, children who act in habits that help them avoid food, their part of the brain related with inhibition is more strongly connected compared to the part of the brain associated with being impulsive.

The part that works with inhibition is also related to mindfulness. It is already an established fact that mindfulness and brain activity plays a part in dealing with obesity in adults.

The researchers have proposed that children should also be engaged in mindfulness so the part of the brain related to inhibition works more attentively. This will cause their eating habits to reduce and they will be able to handle obesity.

"Adults, and especially children, are primed towards eating more," said Dr. Niswender, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "This is great from an evolutionary perspective - they need food to grow and survive. But in today's world, full of readily available, highly advertised, energy dense foods, it is putting children at risk of obesity."

"We think mindfulness could recalibrate the imbalance in the brain connections associated with childhood obesity," said Dr. Cowan, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. "Mindfulness has produced mixed results in adults, but so far there have been few studies showing its effectiveness for weight loss in children."

The findings of this study appeared in Heliyon which is an open access journal from Elsevier.

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