A new study has prompted some doctors to reconsider the classification of obesity.
Currently it is treated as a behavioral disease, but doctors now suggest it be considered a brain development disorder such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (also known as ADHD), autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
The study, which was published on Science.org, was conducted by doctors at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.
The researchers looked at an area of the brain, the arcuate nucleus, which has several different types of neurons, including those that control metabolism, according to ScienceDirect.
During early childhood, this part of the brain undergoes changes. The brain is particularly sensitive to programming during this time, and it will affect how body weight can be regulated later in life.
The study, which was conducted on mice, found that these changes occur earlier in women than in men.
If an adult’s body mass index, which is a way to measure body fat, is 30 or higher, it’s in the obesity range, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our results provide new evidence that developmental epigenetics are likely involved in early environmental and genetic influences on obesity risk,” said Dr. Harry MacKay, one of the study’s authors and postdoctoral associate. at Baylor College of Medicine.
“As a result, prevention efforts targeting these developmental processes could hold the key to stopping the global obesity epidemic.”
The CDC first recognized obesity as a national epidemic in 1999.
Four in 10 American adults are obese, and obesity rates continue to rise nationally and among population groups, according to “State of Obesity 2022: Better Policies for a Healthier America.”
19 states were also found to have adult obesity rates above 35%, with West Virginia, Kentucky and Mississippi having the highest rates.
Obesity rates in the United States have soared from a decade ago, when no state had an adult obesity rate of 35% or higher.
President Joe Biden recently announced new initiatives to fight obesity and diet-related diseases like diabetes.
New York Post