Childhood Obesity Statistics: Do B Vitamins Matter?

childhood obesity statistics and B vitamins

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Weight gain and obesity are not caused by a single choice.  Rather, the outcome is a hodge-podge of calories, exercise, toxin exposure, stress and gut flora.

Forty or fifty years ago, the simple answer of balancing calories in versus calories out would help most people lose the weight they needed and keep it off.  Sure, there were a few who truly had deep-rooted physiological imbalances that kept them obese, but these were few and far between.

But that was then and this is now.

Obesity has become THE monster when it comes to chronic disease.  There is not a single chronic disease that does not have obesity as a risk factor.  Despite this, society has done a poor job of bringing its collective waistline back into an ideal waist-to-hip ratio.  As more and more research accumulates, we have seen that the answer is far from clear.  What is clear, however, is that some things we would never have expected decades ago are at play.

The bacteria in your gut plays a strong role in diabetes and obesity.  This means that antibiotics, especially as an infant or toddler, can preset you for obesity.

Chemicals in our environment that you are exposed to constantly throughout the day, every day, contribute to obesity and diabetes.  Flame retardants, BPA in plastics, phthalates in fabric softener, Teflon in non-stick cookware, your flame resistant mattress, pesticides in our fruits and vegetables.  These are just a few of the thousands of examples of chemicals that affect your health and weight.

Stress is yet another factor that many do not realize as such a strong player in chronic disease and obesity.

This particular study adds yet another dimension to the complex equation of body weight and obesity.  In it, researchers looked at the levels of B vitamins in the blood of a group of  1131 Mexican American children who were between the ages of  8 and 15 to see if there was any relationship between B vitamin status and obesity.  Here’s what they found:

  • Those kids with higher levels of vitamin B-12 had a 52% lower risk of being obese.
  • Higher levels of folate in the blood stream also led to a lower risk.
  • Dietary intake of the B vitamins thiamin and riboflavin were also linked to lower BMI and total body fat mass.

Just like every other factor out there, the management of body weight is not about doing one single thing but more of putting everything into the blender and using the mix to maintain an ideal body weight.

And this also does not mean that giving your child a multivitamin along with his or her Big Mac value meal is going to balance things out.  It is very likely that the B vitamin levels were more likely a reflection of a healthier diet loaded with fruits, vegetables and whole grains and this diet pattern is what is keeping weight under control.


James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.