Home » News » Students News » Stress Hormones Can Be Elevated Among Obese Children


Stress Hormones Can Be Elevated Among Obese Children

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on December 19, 2013

Stress Hormones Can Be Elevated Among Obese Children A new European study discovers obese children have higher levels of stress hormones than children of normal weight.

The body produces the hormone cortisol when a person experiences stress. Prolonged stress can lead to a buildup of cortisol and other stress hormones and, over time, can cause serious health problems.

As published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, the current study is the first to show that obese children have chronically elevated levels of cortisol.

Researchers measured cortisol in scalp hair, which reflects long-term exposure and has been proposed to be a biomarker for stress.

“We were surprised to find obese children, as young as age 8, already had elevated cortisol levels,” said one of the study’s authors, Erica van den Akker, M.D., Ph.D.

“By analyzing children’s scalp hair , we were able to confirm high cortisol levels persisted over time.”

The observational case-control study analyzed hair samples from 20 obese children and 20 normal weight children to measure long-term cortisol levels.

Each group included 15 girls and 5 boys between the ages of 8 and 12.

Obese subjects had an average cortisol concentration of 25 pg/mg in their scalp hair, compared to an average concentration of 17 pg/mg in the normal weight group.

The hormone concentrations found in hair reflect cortisol exposure over the course of about one month.

“Because this study took an observational approach, more research will determine the cause of this phenomenon,” van den Akker said.

“We do not know whether obese children actually experience more psychological stress or if their bodies handle stress hormones differently. Answering these key questions will improve our understanding of childhood obesity and may change the way we treat it.”

Source: The Endocrine Society

Young overweight girl photo by shutterstock.

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2013). Stress Hormones Can Be Elevated Among Obese Children. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/12/19/stress-hormones-can-be-elevated-among-obese-children/63529.html

 

Family &
Parenting



Recommended Books

  • Tending the Family Heart
  • Connecting Your Family in Disconnecting Times, a parenting e-book by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.
  •  
  • Purchase Child Psychology and Development for Dummies now!
  • by Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D.
  •  


Latest Articles