Study: Teen Obesity Due To Low Levels Of Certain Hormones

Obesity is a growing concern among children, teens and adults. The obese population has continued to rise in the past years, which makes the issue more alarming. According to a new study, teen obesity could be due to a particular hormone called spexin.

Obesity Rate In The US

There is no doubt that the rate of obese individuals in the United States has increased. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the rate of obese children aged 6 to 11 has increased by 11 percent from 1980 to 2012. Meanwhile, obesity rate of adolescents from 12 to 19 years old has quadrupled from five percent in 1980 to 21 percent in 2012.

The increase in the obesity rate is very alarming. Per the report, in 2012 more than one-third of the children are obese or overweight.

Teen Obesity Caused By A Particular Hormone

Although children's eating habit and physical activities are certain factors for obesity, a new study suggests another factor. According to Medical News Today, low level of spexin hormone increases one's risk of obesity.

Spexin is the hormone that helps regulate your body's energy balance and fat mass. It plays an important role in obesity. In fact, previous studies stressed that obese adults indicated reduced levels of this hormone.

To check if a reduced level of spexin also affects teen obesity, a group of researchers analyzed the spexin levels in the blood samples of 69 teenagers aged 12 to 18. Of the said sample, 51 were obese and 18 were of normal weight.

The teens were grouped into four, depending on their spexin levels. The scientists learned that obese teenagers have lower levels of spexin compared to their normal weight counterpart. With the said result, Dr. Seema Kumar of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN concluded that spexin hormone might be involved in weight gain.

"It is noteworthy that we see such clear differences in spexin levels between obese and lean adolescents," Kumar said. "Since this is a cross-sectional study, more research is needed to explore the physiological significance of spexin, how it may be involved in the development of childhood obesity and whether it can be used to treat or manage the condition."

The results of the study are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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