17 December 2014
Researchers from University of California have found that obese children are more likely to respond to sugar.
The study, from the university's San Diego School of Medicine, has found the brains of obese children suggests that significantly overweight young people have a heightened psychological reward response to food.
Published in International Journal of Obesity, states that this elevated sense of "food reward" could mean some children have brain circuitries that predispose them to crave more sugar throughout life.
The team scanned the brains of 23 children, ranging from eight years old to 12, while they tasted a fifth of a teaspoon of water mixed with sugar. The participants were then asked to swirl the sugar-water mix in the mouth with their eyes closed, while focusing on its taste.
"The take-home message is that obese children, compared to healthy weight children, have enhanced responses in their brain to sugar," said first author Kerri Boutelle, professor in the Department of Psychiatry and founder of the university's Center for Health Eating and Activity Research (CHEAR).
She said the fact that these differences were present in children as young as eight years old is the "most remarkable and clinically significant" element of the study.
Posted by Philip Briggs
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