Human Milk Oligosaccharides and Obesity in Children

Obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children, adolescents and adults and is one of the major public health concerns of the 21st Century. In Europe, a survey shows that a large number of children suffer from childhood obesity. On a global scale widespread childhood obesity has the potential to negate many of the health benefits that have contributed to the increased longevity observed in the world. In 2014, an estimated 41 million children under 5 years of age were affected by overweight or obesity.

Childhood obesity is a multifactorial disease associated with a wide range of serious social and health consequences such as psychological problems and lower educational attainment. There is also a higher risk for many harmful diseases later in life, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypertension and coronary heart disease. Therefore, it is critical to identify factors in early childhood that increase or mitigate the risk of excessive weight gain and obesity to help develop early interventions.

The development of obesity

In humans and animal models, obesity is associated with numerous physiological changes in the gastrointestinal tract. These include perturbation of the microbiota in the gastrointestinal tract, also known as dysbiosis, increased intestinal permeability, and intestinal inflammation.

This article is available in full in the Spring 2020 issue of Nutraceuticals Now

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