Tags: obesity | puberty | fertility

Childhood Obesity Disrupts Puberty

Thursday, 02 August 2012 12:00 PM

Childhood obesity has been found to affect the timing of puberty and may cause reproduction problems, particularly in females.
A growing body of research suggests that obesity could be related to the rise in problems with infertility, in addition to a host of other physical and psycho-social concerns, according to a new analysis published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology.
The analysis, led by Oregon State University scientists, noted the dramatic increase in childhood obesity is a fairly recent development that mirrors a rise in reproductive problems, possibly as a result of the human body rapidly adjusting to the changes. For thousands of years of evolution, poor nutrition or starvation were a greater concern, rather than an overabundance of food.
"The issue of so many humans being obese is very recent in evolutionary terms, and since nutritional status is important to reproduction, metabolic syndromes caused by obesity may profoundly affect reproductive capacity," said OSU’s Patrick Chappell, who helped conduct the analysis. "Either extreme of the spectrum, anorexia or obesity, can be associated with reproduction problems."
Researchers are still studying the impact of obesity on the onset of puberty and effects on the liver, pancreas and other endocrine glands, Chappell said. But in general, puberty is starting earlier in girls than ever, which may affect the release of hormones that are key to reproduction and biological “circadian clocks” that govern sleep-wake cycles.
"Any disruption of circadian clocks throughout the body can cause a number of problems, and major changes in diet and metabolism can affect these cellular clocks," Chappell said. "Disruption of the clock through diet can even feed into a further disruption of normal metabolism, making the damage worse, as well as affecting sleep and reproduction."
Excess of fat can also be a contributing factor to infertility rates and reproductive diseases, the analysis noted. In addition, some studies have linked early puberty to the risk of reproductive cancers, adult-onset diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and depression and anxiety in girls, among other problems.

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Childhood obesity has been found to affect the timing of puberty and may cause reproduction problems.
Thursday, 02 August 2012 12:00 PM
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