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New Diet Can Help Battle Child Obesity

All around the world obesity rates among children have increased three-fold in the last 20 years, and there are a few available options that are effective for treating obesity in these kids. Now, new hope is surfacing for children having a hard time keeping a healthy weight, according to a new study published in Molecular Metabolism.

Calorie restriction dieting is not usually a successful method because children tend to gain and lose the weight back and forth, called the "yo-yo diet".

The new technique concentrates on the energy balance circuit of the brain, which plays an important part in helping maintain the body's natural healthy weight. It works similar to a thermostat - if it is turned up, a person's weight decreases, and if it is turned down, weight increases.

Prior research revealed that unhealthy diets can actually harm this brain circuit. Now, the new research confirms that the harm forces the "thermostat" on the energy balance circuit to be turned up, which results in weight increase.

It is possible, according to the researchers, to reverse this damage by using calorie restriction with the "thermostat setting" on low, which can eventually treat the obesity. However, different diets have different results.

The findings revealed that an unhealthy diet, even if a person does not eat a lot, can result in weight loss. However, the energy balance circuit is not turned down. When an individual stops dieting, weight will jump back to what it was before the treatment. On the other hand, healthy diets and eating less not only cause weight loss, but turn down the energy balance circuit as well.

A 2012 study said that it is more important to teach children how to eat, not how to diet. For example, teaching them about healthy food options is effective in preventing obesity.

John Speakman, commented: "Rebound weight gain after dieting is a major problem. These data point to a potential reason why some individuals bounce back much further than others, and provide a clue as to how to minimise the problem. The result is really exciting."

Healthy diet treatment does not result in "yo-yo" weight gain when the diet is over, explaining why calorie restricted diets only work for some people.

David McNay, co-researcher of the study, said :

 "We've known for some time that over-eating an unhealthy diet causes obesity, but we've not been sure if it was the overeating or the unhealthy diet that is the problem. This research shows that every calorie is not equal and that successful treatment of obesity requires both eating less and eating healthier."

"Helping children to keep to a healthy weight could decrease their risk of developing serious, long-term health problems and free them from the stigma that often comes with growing up with obesity," concluded Caroline Johnston, Research Evaluation Manager at Action Medical Research.

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